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By Adrienne Su

Dropping napkins, corks, and non-compostables

into the trash, I see that friends have mistaken

my everyday chopsticks for disposables,


helpfully discarding them alongside inedibles:

pork bones, shrimp shells, bitter melon.

Among napkins and corks, they do look compostable:


off-white, wooden, warped from continual

washing — no lacquer, no ornament. But anyone

who thinks these chopsticks are disposable


doesn’t live with chopsticks in the comfortable

way of a favorite robe, oversized, a bit broken.

Thin paper napkins, plastic forks, and non-compostable


takeout boxes constitute the chopstick’s natural

habitat to many I hold dear. With family or alone,

I’ll maintain that chopsticks aren’t disposable,


but if I can make peace with the loss of utensils

when breaking bao with guests, I’ll be one of them,

not digging in the napkins and corks. Compostable

chopsticks are the answer: everyday and disposable.


  • Activities
  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Adrienne Su
Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Su earned a BA from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and an MFA from the University of Virginia. Commenting on her work for the National Endowment for the Arts website, she said that in terms of subject matter, she prefers “the daily to the exotic.” She teaches at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. See More By This Poet

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