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It's the inside which comes out, as I contemplate him there half in sunlight, weeding diligently a Midwestern lawn. On my persons, I have only notes and a drying pen, the memory of onion blossoms scenting in a window. Reflection is my native medium. I am never arriving, only speaking briefly on material conditions between myself and others. My country inoculates me lovingly, over time. My country grasps me like desire. I will show you my credentials, which is to say my vivid description, if you ask. Here we are, my father and I, never hostile, a small offering: pointless cut flowers appear on the kitchen table when one finally arrives into disposable income. Still possible. Am I living? Do I accept revision as my godhead and savior? I do and I am, and in the name of my Chinese father now dragging the tools back inside, brow shining but always a grin, faithless except to protect whatever I still have time to become, Amen.
"I wrote this poem for my father, to send him a prayer by way of loving contemplation. As poetry is a practice of sustained revision and betterment, so is the act of being my immigrant father's daughter. I honor him by revisiting myself." —Wendy Xu
Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017). She teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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