It's Almost My Birthday Don't Tell Anyone 

I go to sleep and wake up

different. You make a lengthy

drive across Iowa to find

the other end of Iowa, its fields

hung silent in iron sky. Claims

are always being made

about precision. If I were a bird

I would mean to be

the small kind. What is going on

in that room where

no one lives? It might fill

itself with delicate things,

some very nice iron bowls,

twelve miniature trees all

of them aflame. Listen,

Cody. How many times

did they tell you

you'd never make it? One day

is never longer than

the next untangling film

from a canister. Somebody

means to measure you

by needle and light.

I take a quiet kind

of panic to the river.


Auditorium Poem


That the stars pull a wave toward

other coasts. That wolves are something

else until you meet one

in his own room. What was that story

about transgression? Wolves that lick

their gums and smile. Those same

stars I do not understand. The cold

has left me in it and the plants

dead holding each other in the back seat

of a car. I didn't mean it. Sometimes

you have no choice but to drive

to Connecticut. I know my hands fold

on their own. I know falling

to my knees still means something.

That a basin of cool water still answers

the moon. Here you are. Here

you always have been.


Wendy Xu is the author of the chapbook THE HERO POEMS (H_NGM_N BKS 2011). Selected by D.A. Powell as the winner of the 2011 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in CutBank, Drunken Boat, The American Poetry Journal, MAKE, ANTI-, InDigest, Loaded Bicycle, and elsewhere. She currently co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, curates the collaborative book-review project READ THIS AWESOME BOOK, and lives in Northampton.