[Immigration Interview: Chinese Exclusion Act 1882]

By | 1 October 2020

[Who paid for your passage?]
The blood that burned the brightest
was always the one we followed.

[Is there a clock in your father’s bedroom?]
While he slept, silver wheat grew
from the sweat of his clothes.

The morning always found
a quiet place to kneel.

[Is someone forcing you to come here?]
I don’t understand the question.

[Who were your neighbours?]
The name Yu Yan. The name Ying Yue.
The word yùn dòng. The clouds – sliding
like Wang Shu’s wet slippers across the hallway.
The field – the field inside the finger.
The golden doorknobs wrapped in a blanket.
The loose joints rattling the ginger-jar.
The salt in the curve of a pinnae.
The sound womb glistening the air.
The strand of hair lengthening in the spine of a book.
The ocean forgetting our names.
The sky thirsting for our bodies.
Our bodies thirsting for the sky.
The country – her country – welling in the afterglow.

[Who paid for your passage?]
Unable to speak,
the dark thawed around us.

We held birds like candles.

A child mistook the snow
for his mother.

[What direction does the front of your house face?]
When we were lost,
I pulled the curve of moonlight
from the wet of his lips
into a sickle between my palms.

It always spun South.

[What pieces of furniture were in your living room?]
The radio – the father inside the radio.
The box of chalk. The pocket mirror.
The teeth – the jade inside the teeth.
The map that shrivels in the moonlight.
The wax that blooms in the bone.
The chopsticks – slid – into the holes of coins.
The shadows braided on the clothesline.
The window that breaks like an eardrum.
The wind drawing names in the ashtray.
The bayberry bleeding on the tongue.
The body – thrashing – like a blanket in the mouth.
The candied ginger – goldening on the table.
The breasts – her breasts – swelling ripe in the heat.

[What is your final destination?]
Could you please repeat the question?

[What is your final destination?]
Where the shadow pauses
at the edge of a meadow
into the shape of a gazelle.

[What is your name?]

[What is your name?]

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