Wendy Xu is a graduate of the University of Iowa, and will be an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass-Amherst this fall. Recently selected by D.A. Powell as the winner of the 2011 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from CutBank, Pismire, Drunken Boat, PANK, Coal Hill Review and others. She is the co-founder and co-editor of iO: A Journal of New American Poetry and maintains a collaborative book-review blog at readthisawesomebook.blogspot.com.
A Poem about New York on Occasion of Leaving New York
Behold the future hypothetical: you exist only on airplanes.
You give your things to an attendant and they are sorted
by size, and the lesson: do not be too weighty, or be punished,
do not claim things you will only leave behind.
In the future reality you are at a zoo, and while it is time to look
at the zebras, you are in the aviary. You are asking a red-crowned crane
about total diameter of wing-span as it relates to flight.
To hollow out each bone, one by one. To loose yourself
from yourself, and the lightness of your absence be enough.
But by the time you know this, you will still be on the East Coast
not sleeping, pulling fabric from each window
as one exposes a wound,
denying the pillows their settling atop each other. O, how
you miss the companion you once had, but here is the truth:
while you wait for the morning you are waiting
for the phone, as you hear it now, it is not the city beneath the city,
the city which once carried you away.