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.
There are no refractions today / by the pepper flakes— in the glass. // The snails slept by the snap pea hooks / and cradles— I salted them. // Sometimes I drank / from a vapored gas— / I made ellipses with my glass.
‘You’ve memorized its bends like a prayer, / its long silver-gray hair, / its cigarettes, its favorite / songs and curse words, / the holes in its shirts.’
‘For me, who grew up and became an adult during the New Order period, I was conscious of a historical and political absurdity. I began to feel that there were some Indonesians who had become invisible.’
‘Our apartment, our home, became an unfamiliar space. We still slept in the same queen bed, but no longer did we speak of upgrading to the capacious king. We could now easily fit two additional people in the valley of the bedsheet between us.’
Amarnath Ravva’s American Canyon gravitates between Northern California and South India as he reenacts rituals and shares histories of both his homes.
A review of Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know