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

Altered State at the Grocery Store

By myself at that late hour, I study the uniformed rows—
months and months of potential meals boxed and lining the freezer.
I fling open the glass door. It’s not only the burst of cold
that’s so startling, but a kiss, warm at the nape that makes me

flush, and two arms around my waist pulling me in against
the sleepy memory of one man’s body. There’s no time
to be afraid. The best way to remember is to forget. Glancing
over my shoulder, I recognize the familiar outline

of a face, a quirky grin. Pressed against him, my back is warm,
my face, cold—too close to the frozen door. He hugs me tight.
I feel a rhythmic thud, the battering knot of his heart.
“There are no fres to winnow,” he says as if he’s been gone a while,

which startles me awake. The bedroom window is wide open.
Winter washes over me, frost on the glass pane.

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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