To Home Country
Cassandra Hsiao
    after Malaysia

I have lost allegiance.
overnight I painted myself

the colors of rambutans,
a mangosteen’s inside,

and skies undaunted by monsoons.
on the return my tongue catches fire.

eating country, uneven
asphalt and all. inside me

something gnaws, eyes round
like longans. purple-shot,

dragonfruit. hungers like gravity.
hunger: not having enough

words. too many poems
and all not mine. the art

of being unfinished. I ask,
what will complete me—

the creature somersaults
in my stomach. I remind it

this is not home where home
is synonym for sun, the first thing

I saw at birth. I am unsure who to call
mother. unsure about this water.

this heat. I want to French kiss
but tongue is reluctant
with America and I wish
osmosis reinvent this body.

humidity enveloping night markets
pulling spaces between people

until skin tight. I want
to wrap arms around home
even if my arms are not long enough.

Cassandra Hsiao is an undergraduate at Yale University, majoring in Theater Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. Her poetry, fiction and memoirs have been recognized by Rambutan Literary, Animal, Claremont Review, Jet Fuel Review, and National YoungArts Foundation. Her plays have been produced around the nation through playwriting competitions held by The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, Princeton University, Durango Arts Center, California Playwrights Project and YouthPLAYS. She has also won a Gracie Award for her entertainment journalism and was recognized as a Voices fellow for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).