Ted Jean

Lai Mei 

a skilled seamstress, albeit by necessity, 
my mother made a short green polyester 
jacket with big orange plastic buttons that 
we both agreed was pretty cool.  After 
she tired of it, I wore it chilly mornings in 
the greenhouse among the chrysanthemums 
where I worked until the school bus, then 
slipped back into its dusty comfort after 
class for more hours of menial flower labor, 
till dark, dinner, and drowsy homework 
at the sticky kitchen table.  After her burial, 

back at the house, in a box in the corner of a 
closet, I found that jacket, wrapped around 
a minor pile of jade and Chinese gold, and 
realized she couldn’t love me. 

A carpenter, Ted Jean writes, paints, plays tennis with Amy Lee. Nominated twice for Best of the Net, and twice for the Pushcart Prize, his work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, PANK, DIAGRAM, Juked, Spillway, dozens of other publications. His first chapbook, Desultory Sonnets, won the 2016 Turtle Island Poetry Award.

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