Tender White Desk

by Ariel Joy So

My old boss never used “!” to assert himself, never a flinch
of changing inflections. This was supposed to be
about the dentist, how I unwittingly grind my teeth
during sleep. I watched a cop’s body cam: crying crying
blonde girl; a defensive defensive white male. But I am
a Nobody. If you think women are prone to hysteria,
I’ll call 911, to wait for a dead body to appear.
A public comment read: it takes seven times to leave.
Like a cat, I survived all nine lives. Cry me a river! “River Flows
In You”—a song my ex ruined, the way his invisible hands
played it on the piano, unending notes sprawled over
my body, invasion of ‘I.’ This goddamn river
of Lethe, where he pretended to dip
his toes in, yet came crawling back.


Ariel Joy So is originally from Hong Kong and has lived in Singapore and the United States. Her poetry has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Moot Point Magazine, Some Kind of Opening, Quarter Press, Bee Infinite Publishing, Protest Through Poetry, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.