Jody Chan

self-portrait after panic attack

— for Kou

I visit you at Gibraltar Point on an August
Wednesday when the anvils in my brain have been

pounding extra hard & I am flattened with anxiety but
we feast on takeout Korean in a room filled with thriving

plants & new laughter & when we finally look up
from ourselves for the first time all evening the sunset

is dipped in a hue that steals our pulse so we race
outside to the beach & who knew the dusty rose

& tangerine of dusk filtered through an inbound
thunderstorm could make lavender we have never

will never see anything like this again so we bathe
in the satin light & comb the beach for gifts of sea

glass for your mosaics & this must be what heaven
feels like just a beauty we don’t know the how

or why of & even though the fire ants bite & cut
short our bounty I think I will be chasing pieces

of this palette in every sky forever because yes
my heart knows mostly the long haul of winter

in a house with the heat turned on low but you gather
a tea of nettle & raspberry & rosepetal for me & for now

my burnt tongue is a dancer sweet & dizzy on the after
taste of not being alone it is so lucky to choose

your own family it is so lucky to love
this lilac light as we slip back inside my pocket

blooms with porcelain from a shattered bowl a pink
snail’s shell the secondhand pieces of a life we want

to know but not inhabit we don’t long to lay claim
to the moon’s symbolic shine we don’t need

the distance to recognize home

Jody Chan is a writer and organizer based in Toronto. They are the poetry editor for Hematopoeisis and the author of haunt (Damaged Goods Press, 2018) and sick, winner of the 2018 St. Lawrence Book Award. Their work has been published in Third Coast, BOAAT, Yes Poetry, Nat. Brut, The Shade Journal, and elsewhere. They have received fellowships from VONA and Tin House. They can be found online at and offline in bookstores or dog parks.