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The married man, when he was nearly
mine, gave me advice once

on who to marry. Not
an intellectual, he said in the shower,

so nearsighted he kept his glasses
on. Never an intellectual.

It wasn’t airy, a slip-up. I knew
because his face darkened

like an age passing. I withdrew
to an untouched corner, moth

singed by a false moon.
For longer than I can bear to tell you,

his words fanned down
on me—a light mockery,

a falling house of cards.

Debora Kuan is the author of two poetry collections, "Lunch Portraits" and "XING." Her poems have appeared in "Poetry," "The New Republic," "The Iowa Review," and many other journals. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Macdowell, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. She teaches poetry through the 92Y and Brooklyn Poets as well as at Choate Rosemary Hall. Find her at

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More from Issue 5: Winter/Spring 2022

Eye of the Beholder

Pecking Order

by Rishi Reddi


Man of the House

by Laurel Doud