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Cynthia Dewi Oka

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 Cynthia Dewi Oka. Photo credit: Cathie Berrey-Green.

Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of Salvage (Northwestern University Press, 2017). She is a member of the Sanctuary Advocate Coalition, which works to expand sanctuary in vision and practice through the framework of black-brown unity. She lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.

by this poet

Behind disinfected curtains,
           beyond touch of sunrise
devouring the terrible gold

           of leaves, a man could be
his own eternal night. City
           flattened to rubble, his

surviving height a black flight
           of notes: the chip-toothed
blade and oldest anesthetic.

That a potholed street in the middling borough of Collingswood, New Jersey, bears the name Atlantic, after an all-consuming body of water.
That all-consuming is Atlas’ curse to bear the heavens on his shoulders.
That after the fall of the gods, half of the heavens is darkness.
That inside the car speeding