when I wake up
soft and more
of dream
than waking life
I wish
to lick myself
the way a cat
cleanses —
my tongue
over the miracle
of my hands
over the soft plane
that is my belly
down the length
of my legs
my tongue lapping
tender over
my calloused feet
— especially over
my calloused feet
licking with devotion
the arable land
of my back
the forgotten sweat
behind my knees
seeing what is there to see
the edges at the mouth
the cave that brought
my children forth into life
my tongue over my territory
the way a cat knows
the limits of her fur

From Killing Marias (Two Sylvias Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Claudia Castro Luna. Used with permission of the author. 

In the bronze skin of your rain-mottled angel of immigration
who looks forward 
                          with a faux diamond clasp 
               of upward mobility on her watery clavicle, 
                                       inner rain called mizzle is shining— 
a frayed chrome-polishing 
                                        rag on a bicycle while the fig tree 
loses its foliage due to a blight called rust. Dear millennium, 
                           destined to be a girl, 
an artist not engineer, 
you’ve never fallen in love. (Do you even believe?) Centuries, 
                                                 this peace offering— 
a non-fruiting olive 
                                       after your lavender died of root-rot 
                            on a winter afternoon in the north. 
(Day after a sea storm, holy 
and granular— 
             bayside hailing clean off the rim, napthlalene 
                                         stored in mothless boxes of air, 
of agelessness, hybrid tea-roses, and rocket fuel.) 
                           Ear-shaped, honey-combed morels 
flourish by the rosemary, edible yet uneaten— 
                                       dearly so, as evidence 
of a battered dictionary you once loved, too. (Light-drenched sea, 
             all its charismatic splendor, is a room 
                                                          of meticulous self-reform, 
                                       noxious blue-eyed madness 
of the dead.) For this reason, your ancestors 
                         wished to sail on a ship around a landform 
              to its southernmost point (Dear millennium, what we loved 
                          is written tenderly in the dregs of the earth.) 
Dear millennium, see how immigrants 
                         yearn for departure not extravagance, 
freedom with a notion of rootedness 
                                       or nesting. 
In doing so, this generational reimagining, dear millennium— 
you are cured of nothing 
                                       yet everything at once.

Copyright © 2019 Karen An-hwei Lee. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.