When someone says the world is a fish

Someone has left the building. The building is now

a rubble of bones. Butterflies are sometimes kisses,

but mostly larvae. Language: a cocoon to emerge into.


To come down from the tree means breaking

a bough. Rocking to wake. The world is a nursery

and rhymes are waves. To be a person describing


is to be a rat scavenging at the crumbs of language

for the remains of thought. Holiness has nothing

to do with it. Yet, meringue. Yet, music.


Yet, everything. In other words, divinity is a shoebox

at a science fair for the other words. I am not sure

my words are my own. I walk past a bookshelf


and read How Nature Works. I read how nature works

in the spinning of a silk worm. Someone reads out loud,

“How nature works.” To be awake in the world


means to be aware of sleeping. I won’t survive language.

Language is the only way to survive. Thank goddess,

I was never given a god to flounder for. A man with a tie


can be an instrument of violence. Why not say so?

For fear of being locked up, we keep our wisteria

to ourselves. I am bursting dragonfruit, pulling cards


and reading. The definition of “apocalypse” is “to reveal.”

So what if my language is pleased with itself?

To speak at all has been a travail. I am cacophonous


now, a body of scales dragging along the sand.

Don’t mind me while I feast on oil fumes.

How are we still manufacturing plastic foam?


Even fairies need to breathe. The slot machine

dings. Any money I get needs to be cleansed.

Who has the power to move the currency of thought?


Whose hook is in my cheek? I eat puzzles for lunch.

A bomb goes off in a break room. If the poem is a vine,

the climbing to where becomes the question.


Author: Nancy Lynée Woo

Nancy Lynée Woo is a poet, educator, and community organizer. As a 2022 Artists at Work fellow, she brings arts programming to community gardens. Previously, she has received fellowships from PEN America, Arts Council for Long Beach, and Idyllwild Writers Week. Nancy has an MFA in poetry from Antioch University and a BA in sociology from UC Santa Cruz. Find her cavorting around Long Beach (Tongva), California, and online at nancylyneewoo.com or @fancifulnance on social.

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