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You Think You Are Something Less Real Than You Are by Wendy Xu

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Have you ever catalogued the things you thought were true. For example: that the sun is on fire or that the earth is a perfect sphere. For example: that making a mistake means never having to do it again. For example: if you stay very still maybe it won’t hurt so much.

I was today years old when I learned that dogs see shades of blue, and yellow, and grey. This makes me happy. It means my dog has seen the sky in all its glory, or perhaps the sunrise. At least I was able to give that, though in the end nothing is mine to give.

Have you ever thought about being less than. And has someone ever told you, you are wrong. I am telling you: you are wrong. In this terribly strange and imperfect world, you are exactly what you need to be.

You Think You Are Something Less Real Than You Are
Wendy Xu

You put on some new pants. I put
on some sunlight. I put on a coyote. You
put on a bigger coyote. You put on all
of the coyotes. You put on the sand as it flies
beneath your incredible little paws. I put on
rain not reaching the desert. You put on how we
feel sad after this. You put on the sadness. You
put on methods for dealing with it. The sadness tries
to put you on but you say No! You wrestle
the sadness to the ground. You are big and need
large wings. You put on the large wings. You are still
a coyote. You put on the howling. You put on
things that howl back. There is nothing
you won’t put on. You put on the darkness.
You put on some stars and even what
is between them. You put on the moon. The moon
that shines. You put on how we want
to stay here. You put on how we forget where
we were before. You put on the earth how
it cracks. You put on its face when it sees us.

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This poem appeared in You Are Not Dead by Wendy Xu, published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Wendy Xu • Find books by this poet • Or view my library 

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