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Such As by Wo Chan

I was the smell of ripe lemons in his oxbone nation. I was never / brave. But, he let me eat butter, held me like an egg.

By Wo Chan

Wo Chan is a 2015 AAWW Margins Fellow. Wo challenges binaries, questions the conceit of “normal,” and examines the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and otherness. When Wo revises poems, the poem not only undergoes editorial changes but also further complicates itself by engaging in fresh conversations with new ideas. The poem “such as” is at once one poem and three; the motif of yellowness makes us think about the color’s infinite symbolic possibilities, and the varied forms ask us to pay attention to how language is manipulated. “such as” is illustrative of the poet’s ability to transform, transfuse, or fasten one concept to the other.

Meet our other Margins fellows here, and check back to read more of Wo’s work.
—Emily Yoon



such as



fever collection of pages

a hard
macaroni and a quick brick



damp floor a cracked saucer
of horseradish
of children and lost suburbs

school bus of nostalgia the oxbone kingdom

a river a yolk
a sac


certain type of happiness

of bright butter

ripe lemon dry urine
porch light

dull gold

fried blonde



monster eye




such as

what to do when someone sings
so sweetly an epithet

is singing so sweetly   beside you
your epithet smiling and joyous
this god bless american

name a celebration
so heavenward and wrong

it touches me
to learn again and again
that this is my body      my dear and only body
one lovely chink in the whole damn night.




My mother was a fever. My father was a restaurant.
Every noon he fed his lungs to an entire city.
Every night he held my belly searching for a suburb.
I was the firefly that flared only once in my father’s kingdom.
I learned to speak English like a quick brick road. I split
rocks in the backlot of my father’s skull.
I picked dandelions from the underarms of him, my father.
I was the smell of ripe lemons in his oxbone nation. I was never
brave. But, he let me eat butter, held me like an egg. I was pure yolk,
and ate everything with my monster eye.
Oh. Did I mention my mother was the fever? That was my father, actually.
Still my father pressed against the doorframe.
My father was always the fever and always the restaurant.
My father whose splintered shoulders knew the words to one anthem only.