I stay for the bayou. I stay for the river.
I can talk to you about what it means to be Asian American on the Blackland Prairie ecosystem. It means: I want to defend the sky.
by Ching-In Chen Elgin I write this at a desk a ten minute drive away from the house we vacated in 48 hours when our landlord (in Norway? In Pakistan? In Netherlands?) lost her house in a foreclosure. Yesterday, we drove back, curious to check on the house after Hurricane Harvey receded, and saw the closed fence, the overfull trash, the height of that grass. We wanted to see if the house was still standing, still holding space, still breathing ghosts. * The night before we arrive to transplant into our rented house, a ladder walks off missing, two snug air conditioners. The heat decides for us that we will eat cold today. We walk through the back door, past the bare walls, say hello to a discarded bike with flat tires, to the open door of a molding freezer. Small curios live in the house—a trail of cloth elephants, a dream of fabric, the stretch of a wood table. Remnants from other bodies, some wildlife still scurrying under the countertops, still eating against the …
Shadows drink their bodies up then slip
away. Everyone out there is saying cheese.
how many / times must I be broken and reassembled!
A turn, which should also be startling
I had imagined / a life set in another landscape