Wendy Chin-Tanner is the author of Turn (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014) and co-author of American Terrorist (A Wave Blue World). Her poetry has been nominated for the Best of the Net Prize and the Pushcart Prize, and has been featured or is forthcoming at a variety of venues including The Rumpus, Vinyl Poetry, Denver Quarterly, The Normal School, The Huffington Post, RHINO Poetry, and The Mays Anthology of Oxford and Cambridge. She is a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal, poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown, staff interviewer at Lantern Review, and co-founder at A Wave Blue World. Born and raised in NYC, Wendy was educated at Cambridge University where she serves as an online sociology instructor, and now lives in Portland, OR.
We fought the summer before
I became a sophomore.
You slammed the drawer and
I closed the door.
And when you shouted from the stoop
as I swooped into the subway,
I didn’t know that we would wait
a decade to break the silence we made
impossible to betray.
The incense burns before
the effigies – cardboard cars, spirit
money – minor deities, the family tree
blackening in the urn. The wheel
turns and we love again
not in spite of death but because.
(Published in “Turn,” Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014)
Not Pomegranate, But Persimmon
Not pomegranate, but persimmon,
spotted, so easily bruised, a child’s finger-
nail could pierce it through. Face to face,
you trace our shared traits: our long second toes,
our tendency to feel cold. You are, they
say, what you defend, so why pretend if
a story could change memory, if
only it were true, why would it matter?
I remember you and me, the brown smell
of leather in front of the TV,
the squeaking of the beans inside the bag,
my hand on yours, your hand against my cheek.