Back to Issue Forty-One

from Tonight, A Woman


Asked not to put language in the garden, I could not.

Tonight, a CNN reporter was arrested when an officer refused to hear her
credentials. He repeatedly asked Do you speak

English. Now I fear I may be told
I speak nothing.

Ignore everything I have said about care. I say it twice to negate. I have heard
someone I love speak around someone I love, like English is a sieve for catching
one another’s cruelty.

Catch and hold.

If people keep saying they love me, maybe they love me and don’t know what
else to say.

The earth is an emotional wreck.
The earth is Eden + sin.

We are alive in an era of firsts we don’t recognize. A co-worker takes an ugly
photo of me in my favorite dress, and I have no redemption arc. Only a lovely
speech pattern.

I had tried to say something about the garden. I had tried to say something
about myself.

Plants that grow like weeds are popular cultivars. And of course we know the

This isn’t said enough; I have chosen my loneliness.


Asa Drake is a Filipina American poet and writer. Her most recent work is forthcoming or published in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review and Poetry Northwest. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, Tin House and Idyllwild Arts. Her chapbook, “One Way to Listen,” was selected by Taneum Bambrick as the winner of Gold Line Press’s 2021 Poetry Chapbook Contest.

Next (Dean Rader) >

< Previous (Willie Lee Kinard III)