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An Immigrant Love Letter photo

an immigrant love letter

this is a love letter

     to jasmine rice     and soy sauce     in the ethnic aisle     to the crisp

     melting     of duck skin in my mouth     you taste     the way     america     was

     supposed to taste          to the ember          traveling down our     burnt     

     prayers          leaving trails of incense ashes          i sweep off the ancestral altar to the

     ocean to water     to passage     to fish sauce               if you boil it dry      only      salt

     remains     and     i remain          a remnant of the dry season heat     the     

     smoke of a fresh gunshot          to my father’s body —          a rubber band

     stretching where the ends don’t meet     the space between one end and the other

     is the span of an immigrant’s pride          i am          an immigrant’s pride

     look at me          i open my hands          and i hold          origin stories

     in the motes of ash          caught inside the lines on my palms          i am made of

     what is left behind          in the heat          they say the volcano decimates its

     mountainside     no living thing survives     but at the first rain does the ash not run


image: Dorothy Chan