The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Monkey Was Here by Jasmine An


This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from Monkey Was Here by Jasmine An, released by Porkbelly Press in 2020. 

Synonyms for White

The pale fur where peach stem joins body,
               a doctor’s coat,
                                                      my upper thighs,
Guanyin’s cheek,
               an application—blank,
                                 the bathtub where my mother
                                      birthed my youngest sister,
lichen underneath the mountain,
               subtitles on a movie,
                                                        my hot ears and
                                                  my sweating palms,
Tripitaka’s bald dome,
               the welcome screen
               to my first bank account,
                                                   an American Eagle
                     shirt buttoned tight over my throat,
the harsh glare of enlightenment,
               Buddha’s hand reaching down,
                              and me not knowing
                                             what I’ll become.


Jasmine An comes from the Midwest. Her poetry and non-fiction can be found in Black Warrior Review’s Boyfriend Village, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nat. Brut, Waxwing and Best New Poets 2020. She is author of two chapbooks of poetry Naming the No-Name Woman (Two Sylvias Press, 2016) and Monkey Was Here (Porkbelly Press, 2020) and Poetry Editor at Agape Editions. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

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