For eleven / years I lied about where I’m from, / ashamed by the music of endings, // that deep hollow bell. How much of my yearly / tax is spent to bomb the dirt / that birthed me?, is a question // I never wanted to consider.
At this point I will disobey and say / you are free to go if you choose. Choice is a complicated part of describing / Palestinian heroes or terrorists.
Three generations of Cambodian women in my family wrestle with the inherited trauma of the Khmer Rouge
‘When I held him in my palm, I learned to love what made me. From time to time, I think about my father, his country, clean hands. I like to think of his hands as clean. I like to think I owe nothing to his body.’
The sun sieves through the canopy— / rivers are relenting. My soul seats itself // for the first time. Where it is quiet, it becomes cold. / There is nothing I must do but die— // what joy to let go of all things—what ease to give up.
‘First memory of English: my father orders spaghetti from a waitress. / Foreign flowers blossom in his mouth and I’m spellbound in Urdu. // On Friday afternoons, cars spill across a bleached suburb. / Not far from the mosque, look! Crooked lines of devout Urdu.’
‘i contour my face with sand & it is war paint on the wrong body. i puncture my nostril with steel & that is a war crime on the wrong body.’
The artist’s interactive graphic novel adaptation of Nam Le’s “The Boat” is an entry point to a conversation about refugees today
Cathy Linh Che talks about her debut collection of poems, Split, and what it means to mimic flashbacks of war, immigration, and sexual violence.