Tag Archives: Jenna Le

Words I Often Get Mixed Up
by Jenna Le

Bento: a lunchbox coated in resin secreted by an insect whose blood is sometimes also used to make a red dye.
Beento: someone who has studied abroad in England; at times, someone who bought a winter coat for this reason.

Awhato: a caterpillar that has been killed and mummified by a parasite, after which the parasite’s spore-producing organ juts out of the caterpillar’s neck, like a flag of conquest, and which is dried and burned to make a black dye.
Annatto: an orange dye made from the seeds of a tropical tree.

Toheroa: a long-tongued clam once exploited to make a green soup and now protected by law.
Hetaera: a woman in ancient Greece prized for her long tongue; her hair dye may be red, orange, or black; her praises are sung at symposia where her bared legs are bitten by drunks and insects until blood beads the skin.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

Jenna LeJenna Le, a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Anchor & Plume, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI Online, The Best of the Raintown Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, and Massachusetts Review. Her website is jennalewriting.com.

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How I Know Implicit Bias Exists
by Jenna Le

Turn right on Mascoma, left on Glen, left on Main, left on Interchange.
I recited this like a nursery rhyme until I knew it by heart.
Then, to be extra sure I wouldn’t mess up, I also punched the destination
into my GPS, turned the volume up loud.

I went off course within minutes. Despite my GPS, despite my angelic
intentions. I had cut my teeth driving the right-
angled blocks of Manhattan, but the intersections here were shaped like
scalenes, buckyballs, Emily Dickinson’s envelope poems.

When the GPS shrilled, “Turn left!”, I turned left, but not far enough left,
and I lost the election. Just kidding. I didn’t lose the election, but I lost
all sense of where I was. Got sucked into the suicide-spiral-
that-should-have-been-a-rotary outside the scrappy Cambodian

sandwich shop. Cars piled up behind me as I slowed to figure out
where the hell I was. Not wanting the other drivers to groan, “That awful
Asian woman driver!”, I picked up my pace, figuring that
not confirming people’s stereotypes was more important

than getting where I needed to go. When I got to forks in the road
I made decisions at random. Quick was more important than correct.
The GPS kept shrilling, but it sounded
like a foreign language now. “Take High Street!” it twittered,

but there was no High Street in sight. “In 800 feet, make a U-turn,”
it begged, but I didn’t want to die. Yesterday I taught a class
of high school students. The topic was women writers. After I got home
I realized I had talked about two male writers I liked and somehow forgot

to mention any women writers at all. You think I’m joking,
but I have always prided myself on being a feminist. Yet there I had stood
in front of these kids, unconsciously
calling on boys more often as girls. I never found the Interchange.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 2.

Jenna Le
Jenna Le, a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Anchor & Plume, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI Online, The Best of the Raintown Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, and Massachusetts Review. Her website is jennalewriting.com.

See all items about Jenna Le

Visit Jenna Le’s contributors page.