Devil’s Lake

Spring 2014 Issue

Shelley Wong: Valentine

Once we move, our traces vanish
as if we only ever lived

on the shore. The mailman
walks backwards and my splendid messages

remain sealed like vows. Mementos
are not prizes

so I plant your tulip bouquets
around the city park fountain.

Insert going Dutch
joke here—so this is how

reversing begins—mangos go back
to the mango tree, the car odometer

coughs to zeros, the six
unblinking eyes. Devout jets return

to our once-hometowns, screeching
toward opposite coasts as photos

become sunsets, landscapes, tables.
I return your books

and submit all my receipts
for cash. A black

line cuts your letters
into junk. I can’t take back

what I never said—

SHELLEY WONG is a Kundiman fellow and an MFA candidate at the Ohio State University, where she is a poetry editor for The Journal. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in CutBank, Adrienne, Nashville Review, The Adroit Journal, and Lantern Review, and her criticism has appeared in Pleiades and Blurbed. More from this issue >