michelle lin

Because country and cinema lifted
the eagle to give it a louder, false voice,
I mistook your leaving as a bluebird.

Forgive me. I had moved from one family
that did not touch, to one that did,

when touching was a slow, slow
process. If only we could parallel

griefs, where my story runs up
beside yours, until we are two birds
whispering on the stolen beach,

until one day, I could place my hand
on your shoulder, with permission,

and stay until we lose the posture
of pain or until we never lose again.

Nothing small nor aquamarine,
when they had thought it had been
about us, about them about us,

but had been wrong. One day,
we won’t have parameters

for our screams. What a beautiful day.
This could be it.


Michelle Lin is a poet, community arts organizer, and author of A House Made of Water (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017), an examination of sisterhood, trauma, and survival.  She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA program and of the University of California Riverside’s Creative Writing program. She is a Kundiman fellow, and a lead organizer for Kearny Street Workshop’s reading series, KSW Presents. Her most recent work can be found in Underblong, The Margins, and HEArt.