after Agha Shahid Ali’s “Arabic” At springtime—Persian new year—we circle around the warmth of bonfires to chant, Give me your color, take back my sickly pallor. There is rebirth in this language. A groom exchanges vows with his Persian bride in a foreign tongue.
Child upon child goes, and someone’s mother is no longer that.
“Show me the place,” he said.
I removed my shirt and pointed
to a tiny star above my heart.
at the Angel Island Immigration Station our bodies levitated in minutes, ticking, ticking, alive, alive; forgo mercy and forgo hunger; slurp the pig slop; our muscles in 1911, 1912, we turned ghost and ghost again
Here, the fog horns seem to multiply,/clocks and bells grieve louder./Strange how I never noticed them before.
I got them first to navigate the waters/ of pregnancy, so I could ride the subway/ without gorge rising, without feeling faint.