The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Wider than the Sky by Nancy Chen Long


She catches glimpses of you every year on this day
playing in the sugarcane fields. You are always by yourself.
She calls out your name, running in every direction, searching for
a brother who has been lost for fifty years.
Playing in the sugarcane fields, you are always by yourself,
running barefoot in the mud, carrying something in your hand.
Dear brother who has been lost for fifty years,
she’s spotted you a hundred times
wandering barefoot in the mud with a secret in your hand.
But she never finds you.
She’s spotted you a hundred times—
your small shadow in a clearing of cane or in a hint between the stalks.
But she never finds you.
Still, twins share a mind, and she is certain
of your shadow in a small clearing, an inkblot of you between the green stalks.
I would burn joss sticks at the altar for you. But she says no, you are
still here. Twins share a mind, and she is certain.
She calls out for you, searching in every direction.
I would burn joss sticks at the family altar. Sister says no. You are
in the cane fields. She catches glimpses of you every year.

This selection comes from Wider than the Sky, available from Diode Editions. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Nancy Chen Long is the author of Light into Bodies (University of Tampa Press, 2017), winner of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, as well as the chapbook Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). She is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her work was selected as the winner of the 2019 Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award and featured in Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Indiana Humanities. She works at Indiana University in the Research Technologies division. Follow at @NancyChenLong

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe and the Non-Fiction Editor of Doubleback Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Selkie Literary Magazine, and Writing Class Radio. She’s currently an MFA Nonfiction candidate at Vermont College of Fine Art and lives in Riverview, Florida.


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