Two Poems by Jody Chan


there are secrets that cling to
            our lips
            like plastic
wrap, a generation of fruit flies under
our tongues. how long does it take
to find home in the winter? do you need a
           warmer coat?
I follow instructions. I knead my desires to an
an abortion, in Cantonese, is
to drop
             a child
instead of raising one — a bun
in the oven, an unintended.
to eschew the mundanity
             of weekday
dinners, annoyance after too much
together. you thought of me mostly
when your husband was between, on his way
to business or
             other women.
like an airport, or
             a second
daughter, I am not somewhere people come to
stay. since you, we eat
our apples unpeeled.



sick day

winter elbowed its way in with you, amassing
tissue piles by the door. the friction of numbed
hands, the exchange of soup. both our faces
marbled, after different reasons—thawed meat
or stone. my inhales arrest in my throat, a liquid
cough. when we hug goodbye, your arms
linger from some unstudied static. fleece
on satin, only softer—the snow
sighing recklessly into your exposed skin.
before you recede, a back into the blizzard,
my small voice noses your shoulder. you turn
around—like a statue—I have no breath to say.

Jody Chan is a writer and organizer based in Toronto. They are the poetry editor for Hematopoeisis, and the author of haunt (Damaged Goods Press, 2018) and sick, winner of the 2018 St. Lawrence Book Award. Their work has been published in Third Coast, BOAAT, Yes Poetry, Nat. Brut, The Shade Journal, and elsewhere. They have received fellowships from VONA and Tin House. They can be found online at and offline in bookstores or dog parks.

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