That There May be no Misunderstandings

my wife wants me to tell you
      the notion
      that she bosses me
      and I do what she says
      is a myth
that’s not how our relationship works
      she says
not at all
we are equals
            mutually supportive
            and…what was it?
            ah, mutually respectful
      if you see her
can you let her know I
passed you that message?

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and translator. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cyborg Chimera and Under the Ash, and a travel guide to the city of Suzhou entitled Suzhou Basics. Her third volume of poetry, Voices of the Elders, and her travel memoir, The End Of The Line, are slated for release in 2012. Her most recent projects include writing an updated guide to the city of Shanghai for Urbanatomy and translating Sheng Keyi’s novel 《北妹》 (Northern Girls) for Penguin Books.

Shelly’s poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions, including dark ’til dawn, Things That Disappear, and Studio White • Exhibition 2011. You can visit her website at

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