how we find home (again)


let the finding begin with this:
the loss of my hands, the third bone beneath my ribcage. i swear, i don’t know if there’s a part of me you left untouched. the eighth vertebrae on my lower back — things i struggle to remember when the weather’s bad. i am still looking for a place i can call
that isn’t housed or ruined by a body. and i
to scratch the touch of last night’s boy out of me the same way i am scratching blood like this black ink and i always said i would never be one of those girls but, my god, how i want a cigarette. please,
tell my father i am
so sorry. tell my mother i am still trying to forget how to learn again.

let the finding begin with this:
there have been record storms in the region since you left. the rain is pounding and unending and turns the ground we christened home to brown-black mulch but a poet once told me that the water is
meant to bring sadness.
and that the sadness is cleansing.

i have written that i want to know what it means to wash every ounce of my flesh clean in a hailstorm, and, before you left, you left me with a handful of rose quartz, so i washed the sheets and rubbed it on
i don’t think i really understand yet, but they tell me that it’s only after it all ends that you cease clutching so desperately onto your capacity to forget.
there is beauty in the remembering. i think that i am still learning. please,
tell my mother i am trying; tell my father i am
so sorry about all this forgetting
these days, the rain has let up and the dew feels a bit better, even if my bed still blooms with blood
like roses
in the center.


let the finding begin with this:
i am relearning how to use my hands. these nights, they often run the broad, supple back of another. they search for someone else’s five fingers atop this cloud of white cover. in this mess of kissing and leaving and silver sky, i found a boy that,
still looks at me like i am light.
my forehead is clearing up; it’s taking longer than i anticipated, but i’m turning over new skin and — it aches — but i’m replacing drugs with words to subsist, and
the boy i think i love has a hurt knee.
he has a sky in his eyes.
a poet once told me that, in them, i might find peace.

let the finding begin with this:
this storm, this wave, this cliche of a tornado, a list of gerunds, in succession: this
feeling; this wanting. this ending.
look at how the sun makes the sky
with its blinding light.
if you squint, it looks like it’s smiling.
it’s forgetting. it’s remembering.
it knows — like i do — how i loved you.
how you loved me.
how beautifully we are


facing east

waking up to
morning sun
dancing off teal-blue prisms of
and colliding chimes.

my room faced east in
the sun-soaked place i call home.

night brought
dancing off asphalt, skylines
the silent dazzle of a monster
exhaling city lights.
the smell of
summertime magnolia
weaving through heavy, heat-laced air.
at night, the world turned violet and,
you found moon in your hair.

home, as
a memory of east, as
inhaling city lights without
understanding identity, as
the feeling of searching for
in a concrete place or
in dusty, gold-flecked afternoon haze.

my eastward-facing room gave me
Angel wings fit for a City,
slow rumble and
thundering treble outlining bass,
coalescing like cadence,
sound to which
my Asian body clings like a prayer
in deafening white silence.

and yet,
as the sound and light began to fade,
home, for me, became
something forgotten.
the last wisps of
blush-pink sunset
kissed my eastward-facing room goodbye, and
the darkness had me
hitting the ground running to find
where i come from in
air-conditioning sighs,
early morning train cries,
places of transit,
junctures in time.


in the silence, i
pressed my ear to
cassava-pushing earth
to hear my grandfather’s pounding footsteps
on brown Indonesian land. i searched for
lost thud of the
last falling stone of my grandmother's Nanking
in wrinkles tracing her hand.
i clung to a new sound,
an anthem of my ancestors’ time,
to carry me through the waning light.

in the night, i began looking for home in
blood red moon,
lunar calendars and
fistfuls of your roots;
my mother's mid-day laugh
scoring roar of my veins’ relentless
Southeast Asian monsoon.
looking for myself, i
woke in other beds and remembered my
eastward-facing room.

missing myself, i
looked for my golden-brown skin in
sun elsewhere,
dancing off blue prisms
in the gasp between
the touch of other hands and my thigh.
missing my home, i looked for
woven into hair
in his soft exhale of city light
and closed eyes.

in all our
white noise, i found we
often hold in quiet
the things we carry most inside.

sometimes, my mother's
unabashed laugh
still brings me to my knees.
i hear it most loudly these days
waking up in other rooms
looking for moon or
looking east.
she tells five year old me.
"hold onto it.
share it.
be generous, sweetie."
you will make home again in
this messy,
beautiful wonder of

you will make home again in the sharing.

you will make home again in
morning sun