Three poems by Merica Teng


Those hideous words,
“Unfortunately, we regret to inform you…”
come to me, only
after I’ve poured my wishes
into the new year for
a fresh purpose—
they come without a scene.

Telling my best friend
on more days than she wants to hear,
during car rides where I cannot see,
“If I don’t get it…I’ll die.”

With pink sunlight
on one side of her face,
she says this,
repeating in her mind her own crisis,
“Stop it. You’ll be fine.”
We both keep driving,
so that dinner will replace our mood.

"Urban rejects" (photo by Flickr user macinate)

“Urban rejects” (photo by Flickr user macinate)

Pen Pals

He and I agreed to write
each other letters
for as long as it takes,
before we find real lovers.

Traveling more miles,
I open his small envelope
after brewing Wild Cherry tea
because it’s romantic,
and we’re starved.

He gives me more honesty
than I expected,
like crying into paper,
for this virgin heart—
and my kitchen table,
shiny and bare,
becomes special. A powerful place.

"Birthday Cake" (photo by Flickr user Will Clayton)

“Birthday Cake” (photo by Flickr user Will Clayton)

Turning 25

25. My age is a plucky guide
to a private, darkened hallway
of extremes. Now, my choices
are still fresh, limitless, but they’ll
expire in five years—
I’ve been told.

Images in front of me tighten
in color; I care more,
while time squirms
next to me in my old car.
Hours act demanding, each morning
that I drive to a job, too far—
undeserving of my youth.

Merica Teng work as a writer and English professor in La Mirada, California. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach, and won the David Sedaris Humor Writing Contest at UCLA in 2009. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Mas Tequila Review, Carnival Lit Magazine, Subliminal Interiors, and Crack the Spine.