Do you want to delete this article from your reading list?

POEM – ‘The Encounter’

By Wendy Chen


‘The Encounter’



She is not a body,
not at all.


Just a doorway.


If you raise her face
to yours,


you can see through,


And just beyond—


fragrant twists of smoke and
placid thighs.


This red blossom
is her mouth.


It only speaks
your name.


You know yourself
against her.


Your male,


thrown into relief.


Whole, at last,
and prime.


You leave her


Draw over
her dead body a silk curtain


embroidered with smiling cranes.




Wendy Chen (@wendychenart) is the author of Unearthings (Tavern Books, 2018). Her work has appeared in CrazyhorseRattle, A Public Space, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Most Promising Young Poet Prize, and fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She earned her MFA in poetry from Syracuse University. Currently, she is co-founder and editor of Figure 1. For more, visit


‘The Encounter’ was first published by Ghost Proposal



Save to
reading list