Season of Cherries

First the pink ones, with yellow lights.
Then the silky dark ones.

Sweeter, nearly cloying as you and I
eat and eat until the bag folds over.

My first knowledge was tell no one.
This is love among the undocumented.

Tell no one. When I met you, even you,
I wondered, would you do it?

In the courtyard the dust rises.
Soon there will be peaches, plums.

I am ready for them all.
My mother says, Well, what did you

expect. Deportation is deportation.
Heartbreak is heartbreak. They

shouldn’t be the same to us.
No rain, it turns out. You and I sleep

a while, make love before the moon sets.
The shadows of each eyelash dive

like swifts down your cheek.
Attention to detail is a survivor’s trait.

Will you marry me is one question.
Will you report me is the other.

Esther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. She was a 2020 Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a 2017–19 Wallace Stegner Fellow, and author of The Ghost Wife, winner of the 2017 PSA Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Hyperallergic, New England Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She currently co-organizes the Undocupoets, which promotes the work of undocumented poets and raises consciousness about the structural barriers they face in the literary community.