The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Well Enough to Travel” by Jia Oak-Baker


“You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies”

had best not feel too much. The night train rushes
through the meadow, and its two-step rumbling reminds you

you are alone. When the room begins to spin, it forms
a union with the light. One unceasing streak turned circle.

And you, surrounded by mirrors, go vertigo
in the immense empty between one minute

and the next. Fireflies expand into stars. Who are we
to find in infinite spaces but ourselves? Call it an ostinato,

a vamp. The unchanging refrain of beginnings and endings,
starts and stops, resonates in time like steel on steel,

and we know it. Somewhere, deep in the tall grass,
my hands are still fastened to his, holding fast.


This selection comes from Jia Oak-Baker’s collection Well Enough to Travel available now from Five Oaks Press. Purchase your copy here.

Jia Oak Baker is the author of the chapbooks Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City (Dancing Girl Press) and Well Enough to Travel (Five Oaks Press). Her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, Profane, Poet Lore, DMQ Review, Likewise Folio, and elsewhere. She received a 2015 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and has also been awarded artist residencies from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Hedgebrook. Jia lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and teaches writing at Paradise Valley Community College.

Ben McClendon is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied poetry at Northern Arizona University after teaching high school English for several years. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Yemassee, Ceasura, Chariton Review, Redivider, Rattle, and elsewhere. He is currently Assistant Poetry Editor for Grist: The Journal for Writers and a poetry editor for Four Ties Lit Review. Ben lives with his husband in Knoxville.


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