the house i will build in a decade

because in / ten years / i will be
            twenty-nine and i / don’t wish
to grow anything / beyond that /

            sallow in me my stomach / my
swallow / my esophagus stripped
            in two / find me a hole sutured /

by my mother’s anger / she
            carves / her face out with
a spoon / the ladle dimpling

            through pores / silver wedded /
to skin / tell me / why do
            women build houses / out of

bruises? / in my backyard / a
            matrimony of limestone and
a husband / who hungers /

            he hangs his head / by the
bone / neck crooked / over
            granite i / wait by the stove / i

flay / wallpaper into butter-
            flies / how wanton wings /
appear / when wasted

            the night i / disappear / who
will notice? / just / the kitchen
            punctuated by / wine glasses

rimming / with wetness /
            leftover saliva from / the night
my insides / shallowed

            if i had / a child / she would
capitulate / she would / paint
            her pupil into the attic / let

dust / shave the collar / to
            the marrow / her father /
my sorrow / if i had a child

            my house / would diminish /
when i die / she will find
            my body / in the garden

Josephine Wu is a sophomore at Georgetown University, where she is a Lannan Fellow studying English and Government. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Kalopsia Literary Journal, Bitter Fruit Review, and Dishsoap Quarterly. She has also been recognized as an Adroit Commended Finalist for prose and nominated for a Best of the Net in poetry. You can find the full collection of her work at

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