The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Cleave by Tiana Nobile

This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from Cleave by Tiana Nobile, released by Hub City Press in 2021. 

Moon Yeong Shin

Written on the white slip at the bottom
of a polaroid, cut off by the frame:
a name. Many years passed before I learned
surnames come first in Korea. I rode
my bicycle in circles around this reversal.
For years, my skin leaped from shadow to shadow.
I drank the darkness, or the darkness drank me,
but what’s the difference when your veins are full
of haunting? One day I will walk
the narrow streets of many cities full of ice
freshly frozen. I will hike through forests
of wind storms newly risen. I will learn
and forget the names of many trees,
of tea leaves plucked too early in the season.
I will orbit the earth like a moon
searching for its shadow. Where does a moon
find its planet? Or is it the other way
around? To be a recently hatched egg-moon,
curved shell pinned to the sky. I’ve spent my whole
life in orbit of other people’s light, celestial satellite
in ceaseless wane. How much can you learn
from a stranger’s surname? A young animal
crawls its way out of the womb, stretches its legs,
and feels cold for the very first time.

Tiana Nobile is the author of CLEAVE (Hub City Press, 2021). She is a Korean American adoptee, Kundiman fellow, and recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. A finalist of the National Poetry Series and Kundiman Poetry Prize, her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The New Republic, Guernica, and Southern Cultures, among others. She lives in Bulbancha, aka New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Native (Nanticoke) editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief of beestung, Editor-in-Chief at ANMLY, Co-Editor at Bettering American Poetry, a Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology, and a member of Sundress Press’s Board of Directors.


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