“A Dream of Toast” by Kimiko Hahn in the American Poetry Review.
I don’t know why, but I was inspired by Kimiko’s poem (linked above) after I read Lantern Review’s fantastic interview with her. I started thinking of the poet’s role with language and culture, and how one imbues such motifs of identity politics with the fluidity of language. So I came up with a poem, and though it needs to be edited, I sort of like it. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
A Poet’s Words
To be a poet means twisting words
out of context, dripping water, towel
A poet lives in translation, bastard child
of our country, escaping homeland, diaspora
I am a poet who walks between two lines
On my left, there is a city with questions, on my right,
there is an ocean, dripping water, twisting words
If I wake, I will tell you one thing only:
My home has forgotten its words so that I may
speak in tongues of another land
Twisting, twisting words, believe me when I say
I have forgotten what an ocean means