Dear Millennium, On the Angel of Immigration
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 transplanted 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.