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Wo Chan

The overly passionate

exclaims they’re way
too big

for you though
I say

I have a heart-
shaped face

She places me
into her

spaceship chair
and pumps

so that I rise
to face

the lamp-lit mirror. She goes
I know

they’re in vogue
right now

but they do you, really
no favors,

hides your face

and you’ve really got
quite a face.

I say I need
the large frames to counterweigh

my brazen, Asian

I smile.
She’d have me look like

an accountant
if she could, fit me a titanium

pair, compact
and silver, intelligent

like the wink
on the hood of a car.

What do you see?
she asks

turning from me,
without squinting or straining

tell me the best you can
what you see.

I recite the train of alphabet,

in their meaninglessness,
while she nods

and flips through lenses, berates my right
eye’s astigmatism.

Can I even apologize?
I’m signed up

for half yearly

a date in March,
my least favorite month

She slides my glasses
back onto face.

My frames are plastic, cheap and clunky,

without class or thought for their material

Surprising though
how gingerly she handles them,

slipping the legs
over my monkey ears,

the lenses newly wiped clean
and she is clear

now, near sixty
with hands that have touched

the many
near blind.

She leans in
and asks

now what
does a young man

like you
study? Her expression,

more worry than laugh,

run every direction
of the rose,

onto her neck
(that her body may have expression too)

and across her cheeks,
somehow ample

and still completely

by her tiny,
golden frames.

How can a young man
like me

not fall in love with her
in this dim-lit room?

This time, not even my glasses
will keep my heart in place.


Wo Chan is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia’s Area Program for Poetry Writing where he received the Rachel St. Paul Poetry Award for his work. Wo was a finalist for the cream city review Poetry Contest and his poems appear in the journal. Wo is a Kundiman fellow and plans to pursue an MFA. He currently lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a makeup artist by day and performs with the drag alliance, Switch N’ Play by night.


See the full list of 2014 Emerging Poets Fellows