Diagnostic By Helen Chen

for Wendy

All questions are mandatory. Given:

set A
mandarin (peels into a circle of similar sized selves)
Mandarin (language you speak at home)
Mandarin (you don’t know how to respond to the Cantonese lady at the bakery)

set B
English (Anglo-Saxon)
English (language you speak everywhere else)
English (class you loved second most)

High Potential Individuals on the B63, we calculate
cumulative grade point averages (GPA).

Swallow raw heat & let it take root.

2 pts.

Attempt 1
intersection of A & B: It is June and I am tired of being brave.1
Ø: lacking A or B, this particular quality is nonexistent.
Scoop the insides of an overlapping circle and get eye-shaped
emptiness. I’m trying really hard to be good at this

Partial credit.

Attempt 2
Let warmth wipe your brows from the inside. On the street corner
of 5th Ave, I always thought the world was a single line drawn
from your home to mine. It’s June and I’m trying to be honest.

By Helen Chen


Helen (she/her/她) is a Chinese-American writer based in NYC. Her works are featured/forthcoming in 45th Parallel, Lumiere Review, Beaver Magazine, and others.

  1. [“It is June and I am trying to be brave.”] comes from Anne Sexton’s poem “The Truth the Dead Know

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