Poems and Texts

“PASTORAL” by Wendy Xu


They ask me how deeply do you abide by your imperfect alliances

Well, the trouble with my desire is that I approach it infinitely

I’m waiting on the train

I’m waiting on my paycheck

I’m waiting on my itinerary, my package, my money, my tax return, my status to be overturned, my appeal, the rest of my money, my period, my friends to show up, my rejection letter, my test results

When the doors open I’ll be alone with my thoughts of you

That summer we had found our housing no longer secure

Your housing, and because I consider my love the house inside which I dwell and remake with ease: our housing

The books had been cooked without our knowledge, and to this we took offense

A friend said “you can’t live a life harmoniously with other people”

You didn’t want to fight anyone, so we paid your way out

We waited on the return of our lemon tree, our living basil, confiscated at the border

We imagined that contraband items are eventually “re-homed”

A gray drizzle was then detonating inside of us

Dubbed “disaster relief team” on the side of the truck, dead branches cut down for safety takes all morning

And I felt it: the relief washing over me like weather

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013) and Naturalism (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). Her writing has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Poetry, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere–in 2014 she was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Born in Shandong, China, in 1987, she currently lives and teaches in New York City.

Related Events