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Tending the Speculative: Poems from the Asian American Adoptee Diaspora

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, inquiring into a poetics emerging from the adopted diasporic condition, guest-curates a portfolio of poems for The Line Break.

By The Line Break




“Who claims this child?” James Cagney 
Come on home, my dad says. He says it as if I am still 15, having run
away - again. As if coming home will make everything right, and as if I
am able to conjure up my 12 year old self. The self who believes in his 
God the father, the one slowly seeing cracks in ‘if I just pray hard 
enough’. If I just pray hard enough maybe I will forget I am alien inside 
my own church walls, pews smelling like mink oil, the bread of life stale 
and the wintry eyes of the assistant pastor when he sees me during 
youth group.


Coat, Laura Swanson, 2005. Inkjet print, 20? x 30?.
Coat, Laura Swanson, 2005. Inkjet print, 20? x 30?.


14.5833° N, 121.0000° E

“This Many Miles from Desire” – Lee Herrick

it is two thousand four hundred and six miles from Oakland to Molokai, Hawaii
six thousand nine hundred eighty five to Manila, Philippines,
somewhere in between and outside is where I look for you
for my face in photos you sent me
alongside photos I have stolen 
from my sisters webpage
tiny mirrors on the wall
if I turn my head 
just right

Lisa Marie Rollins is an Oakland-based, Black/Filipina writer, playwright, performer and producer. She is currently touring her acclaimed solo show, Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls Story of being adopted by a White Family… that aren’t Celebrities. She is an alumnus in Poetry from VONA Writing Workshop and is focused in on her new manuscript of poems, tentatively titled, “Anchoring the Compass”. Lisa Marie holds an MA in Cultural Studies focusing in African Diasporic Women’s Literature, an MA in African American Studies from UC Berkeley and is currently on leave from her doctoral program in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley. She is currently teaching and directing solo performance in the Bay Area.