Three poems


Between Ubud and Kuta there are strips of sugarcane

and a trail of footsteps I leave behind.

See—walking’s harder with mountains on your back,

and rain doesn’t spare the poor.

I head to the beach with a towel slung

over my shoulder,

the grey slab of sky hanging above

the palm leaves and their untroubled faces.

Hours later, a man offers me a ride on his motorbike

so I cling to his hips

and make conversation in between cigarette drags.

I’m just arriving in my foreign clothes, my words

crooked and stumbling out of my mouth,

the tropical heat licking my face clean.

I imagine my mother’s body

scattered across the earth like seeds,

I water each one as if she’ll grow back.

Her death a tire swing

I drag through the summer,

my accent swallowed whole

as she sinks into soil,

her history alive in the brownness of my skin.

The Art of Leaving