Jan/Feb 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 4, 2021 |

Expenditures

Soft, that tear of water. Which signals dreaming’s low boiling point. I draw down my eyelids, turn my head. Here, the camera fuzzes. What remains out of focus is the foreground, the waking forms. Patterns arise in the sediment: when the eyes adjust, they’re met with the stutter of faces seasoned. In Anhui, my birth province: my unconscious picks up the interference of my relatives’ dream language, of images that abide in them. I am closest to their blood when my memories dream of theirs, and vice versa, ad libitum. The relatives here can’t afford self-pity. If they’ve jotted down lines of verse, I’ve never seen them. We carry some of the same nerves in the body, but not the sense of how to exhaust history in ourselves. Through time’s heavy membrane, mutual recognition presents complications. Offerings of money, still the shared tongue. It’s the hands and arms they want me to live inside, but I take as my home the head. And how can I be trustworthy with this

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Jenny Xie
Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018), selected by Juan Felipe Herrera as the winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Nowhere to Arrive (Northwestern University Press, 2017), recipient of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. Her poems appear in Kenyon Review Online, Poetry, American Poetry Review, New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers.

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