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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, November 1, 2017.
About this Poem 
“This poem is part of a series of speculative poems I wrote while waiting out heavy rainstorms that caused flooding in Houston, Texas, in April 2016 and prevented me from commuting the long distance to work. I captured the surreal feeling of being hemmed in yet disconnected from severe weather by collaging translated language through my father’s Facebook statuses into what I was writing in response. I kept recycling and reusing this language while continuing to write in response to personal disaster (having our landlords in the Third Ward lose their house to foreclosure without informing us) and public disaster (Hurricane Harvey).”
—Ching-In Chen
 

Self-Portrait, New City Replicant

To heat a sister           	          House a burn

           adjust the replica body
                      in the yesterday travel rain

no sister locks the door 	at the highest temperature
three hours still parked 	still comfortable to eat  	sugar by force

only because each house keeps a burn together
       	   drinks the page            	An unseasoned tree
chosen to go to the sea

Copyright © 2017 by Ching-In Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 1, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Ching-In Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 1, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen is the author of recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2017).

by this poet

poem

after Mendi Obadike

When I was a white girl, I had no mother.

I drank whiskey, lived in a house with no walls.

Girls visited and marveled at my room to breathe.
When it was sunny, they let down their hair, drank fresh orange juice.

We

poem

The teacher straightbacked,
faced me off, her eyes.
            My face in the cleave of
her shoulder, my bones
sitting high my cheek.
             The word proper
arrives in the hall.  The order
of things, rolling
neat into pine drawers, dead-
clean. Squeezed juice of

poem
It's not that the rains have rolled back
up to the ceiling. It's not that the frost has stopped 
flirting with the dunegrass. My mother's eyes
are glass: she writes me what she sees there.  

Duck waddling highway, sideways
raccoon pus, mutant
sunflower with a yen for fertilizer.

She has no time for wordshit