The Act of Killing by Jane Wong


It is early and I have no one to trust.
The sun wrestles wildly about me,
throwing light in unbearable places.
Each day, I wear this necklace of flares,
bright kicks against the throat. Each day,
the earth wobbles in its orbit. I am
in the process of creating an army.
A hive mind, honeyed in the eyes and
pure in purpose. Wasps drone among
roses I stole from my grandfather’s
headstone. Drones watch as my father
kills a man over a bad bet. He presses
the man’s head down into a floor flooded
with enough bills to build a country.
Covered in warm towels, my father drones
in his sleep. He sends a telegram to me:
I could have been a mathematician.
Equal signs multiply across state lines,
dividers of the familiar. Surveillance works
like this: stop. Intentions drag through
the mud, daily. The spoiled sun runs
its yolk. I run my mouth all over town.
All around me, the grievance tree weeps
with wasps. For, what is a bullet without
an arm to go through? I cross and cradle
my arms. When the sun goes down,
I check my eyes to see if they are still there.


Jane Wong‘s poems have appeared in places such as Mid-American Review, Eleven Eleven, The Volta, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Salt Hill, Best New Poets 2012, and others. She holds a MFA from the University of Iowa and is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the U.S. Fulbright Program.