Pui Ying Wong
Snow White Signs the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order
I cannot stop you from saving a life, even mine.
In the early hour of hustle and flow
you smell of aftershave,
standing with the machines, the long tubes
tying me to this world.
To you I embody beauty, red lips
and porcelain skin are all you see
but they spell curses to me.
Do you know I was just a lass
when I got lost in the fabled-woods? Men passed
me to other nameless men, pretending to help
and left me dead in the cold chalet.
But here’s another story.
A father drives to the lake on holidays, he’s pleased
with the new Winnebago. A mother
with soft curly hair cooks eggs over the stove,
the yolks setting slowly like the sun.
At night after songs and campfire their children
fall asleep under the Dippers.
Do you know I’ve never stopped looking for them?
Everywhere I look I see home
gliding further away like the boat at vanishing point.
Here I am, saved by poison—
no more going over another blur of towns,
no more being held at borders stocked with hounds,
and peace, that final jewel, is almost total.
Now I sense you are holding my wrist,
whispering the miracle of resurrection.
You are handsome, and kind.
You think you are enough.
That I’d rise, grateful with tears.
That we’d gallop to the mansion,
sunbathe and make love under the apple trees.
Pui Ying Wong
Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chapbooks. She has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume Poetry, New Letters, Zone 3 and The New York Times, among others. She lives in Cambridge MA with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.