The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Connotary by Ae Hee Lee


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Elizabeth Vignali, is from Connotary by Ae Lee Hee, released by Bull City Press in 2021. 

La Esperanza :: Poinciana Tree

In La Esperanza stands a barren poinciana tree.
We climb over it, scratching its callused bark
with our sandals. Breathless, our faces
are like berries, petite and round
flames. We place airy leaflets behind our ears
and chuckle. The neighbor doesn’t like us
on the tree, which extends its branches
toward her eaves, and so one day,
we come back to a nest of barbed wires
scrawled on the treetop. How sad…
we say to no one in particular,
How pitiful, our poinciana tree…
With the belief it would rather be
hurt by us, we leave it
to play house in a different garden.


Born in South Korea, raised in Peru, Ae Hee Lee currently lives in the U.S. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks: Dear bear, (Platypus Press, 2021), Bedtime || Riverbed (Compound Press, 2017), and Connotary, which was selected as the winner for the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming at Poetry Magazine, Poetry Northwest, The Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review, among others.

Elizabeth Vignali is the author of the poetry collection House of the Silverfish (Unsolicited Press 2021) and three chapbooks, the most recent of which is Endangered [Animal] (Floating Bridge Press 2019). Her work has appeared in Willow Springs, Poetry Northwest, Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in the Pacific Northwest on the land of the Noxwsʼáʔaq and Xwlemi peoples, where she works as an optician, produces the Bellingham Kitchen Session reading series, and serves as poetry editor of Sweet Tree Review.

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