Nancy Chen Long

Continual Process Improvement for the Astute Young-Adult Student, Or Lesson as Lesion

Continual Process Improvement for the Astute Young-Adult Student, Or Lesson as Lesion

i. Lessons
  a. A person is a process: “Overview of Constructive Developmental Theory”
  b. Education (the development of a person) is a process: Scouting in Practice
  c. a definition of continual process improvement: the seeking of small
   improvements in processes … with the goal of increasing quality
  d. Quality is in the eye of the beholder: Harvard Business Review

ii. Hypothesis Based on Lessons
  If quality is a goal
  and goal a destination,

  then to follow the sun
  is to be perfect

  in navigation,
  is to arrive perfectly

  at your destination.

iii. Testing of Hypothesis / Early Application of Lessons
  if you don’t do better
  someone else will

  see an opportunity
  and they will be right

  where you thought
  the sun would be

  the sun ought to be
  shooting its solar flare

  into the shiniest part
  of your hummingbird heart
  heart quaking

  with its brummagem
  bastion of quick-flitting flicks
  its flurry of flutters

  heart that doesn’t beat
  in its nest
  because beating has buried

  within it a rest
  and rest is a flaw
  an invitation

  to transgress
  a breach in your porcelain

  defense strategy
  kerneled with a fear-seed
  of tremble

  solitary seed in the fallow field
  where you knot-nest

  you fear-weary
  feathered thing you
  full of waiting

  for the sun
  waiting for the sun
  to teach

  you look sunward
  watch-wait in stare
  stare-follow the sun

  to learn how
  exactly how
  one can improve

  the lot of her skin
  how she might better be
  the blanched perfection

  she’s been taught
  she must

  she must be blanched
  in perfection

  she must be perfectly blanched
  she must be whited out

Nancy Chen Long

Nancy Chen Long is a 2017 NEA fellow whose first book Light into Bodies won the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry (University of Tampa Press, 2017). She is also author of the chapbook Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). You’ll find her recent and forthcoming work in Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Bat City Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. You can find her online at