The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: One Way to Listen by Asa Drake

This selection, chosen by guest editor Sarah Clark, is from One Way to Listen by Asa Drake, released by Gold Line Press in 2022.

I Don’t Know How to Talk About Racism, so I Call
My Mother About the Indispensable Pleasure of
Material Things

It is night in my house. I imagine one room
safer than the rest. Other people really do exist,

and this is not a comfort. Tonight I have
no terrible news. This week my lover

works late, so the windows overwhelm
their steel frames, opening. This week I look

like my mother in the daytime, drawstring shorts,
red scrunchie, planting lemongrass and ginger

borders, bromeliads in the trees. I hear a lot
of people move south these days for that. Mom

down in Coral Gables instagramming her vandas
because an orchid isn’t an orchid, it’s specific.

Look down on the species. Tell which leaves
signify expense, and none will last my life.

No need, but the woman tonight, to file her SSN,
she lived through her ages twice. I hear even

the SSN isn’t eternal, so tonight, the woman
is anyone I love too much to bring attention to.

She says the fear keeping me up is my dream
where the lotus paste vanishes, the animals

are small but endless, and I am looking for
the one I own. I don’t want to go further.

She’s just closed on her house. Neither of us know
if the things we buy will last our lives. I want to know

dreams without worry. I ask my lover what he dreams.
He dreams our windows are in the Midwest. They are broken.

In the dream, he can’t find our insurance. Like all
monthly recurrences, I keep the insurance to myself.

Asa Drake is a Filipina American poet and writer in Central Florida. She has received fellowships and awards from the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, Tin House and Idyllwild Arts. Her chapbook, One Way to Listen (2023), was selected by Taneum Bambrick as the winner of Gold Line Press’s 2021 Poetry Chapbook Contest. Her most recent poems can be found in The American Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly Review: Mixtape and Waxwing.

Sarah Clark is a mad crip genderfuck two-spirit enrolled Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at ANMLY, Editor-in-Chief at ALOCASIA: a journal of queer plant-based writing, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2024) and the Bettering American Poetry series, and a current Board member and Assistant Editor at Sundress Publications. They have edited folios for publications including the GLITTERBRAIN folio and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms at ANMLY. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations, including the Best of the Net anthology, contemptorary, Curious Specimens, #PoetsResist at Glass Poetry, Apogee Journal, Blackbird, the Paris Review, and elsewhere.


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