Monday Jul 22

ChenChing In Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press). Daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is a Kundiman, Macondo and Lambda Fellow. A community organizer, she has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside and Boston.  She is a co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, forthcoming from South End Press. She can be found at 




Dream Upon Arrival to America

Our Grandfather         once on his way up
the line of         pregnant trees, dragged himself
from the train station a canary sweet and
brown in the orchard, cinnamon jute. Thirst.
Pressed onto his bones.           An orange rind bird.
Gray suit.  Shaking his tail up the cruel mountain.
Almost black by sun. To follow the juice,
the bird cannibalizes his feathers        chokes on
the lady, immense as a house  gullet and
tunnel. Upon entrance, he took off his wide
swath of green. But did not bow or lower
his head.  Scented with lavender,  mine or be
mined. Opened, the bird sings into a net.  Donkey
trudging through the coffeed dawn. His letter
of introduction.  He is not used to such winter.
She opened her mouth, looked at his face
and shut it.  A groggy sun. She lifted her arm
bears down on them, grinds through the air.
He followed
a green sky, In the direction of a separate structure, a sun peeled
into sections.


Rummage: Haibun


Return home to the wide eyes of the house, your light shining from its pupil.
Past my knickknacked tongue, nervous system, a harvest of dead objects, your
tiny note.
            Your clavicle uncovered like a wound floating on the sea. I have the same




We flew through the city
ankles and flap against
nothing that would listen to us.
The teeth uncranked the drawbridge,
the stars fell down
into the pit of night
to be cooked.
My not-mother scraped the gunk
out of the pot,
stuffed our mouths with it
before we crossed the border
to the land with no food
we recognized.
When we wouldn't swallow,
she pounded our backs against the sod
until it poured out in chunks,
laid upright
into a body that would not be
broken apart

photo credit Sarah Grant