Teow Lim Goh

Island

Before I was born, the sea rolled up
to my grandparents’ house, but the view
I knew was the strip of asphalt

beyond the barbed wire. The garden
was overgrown with mango, guava,
and jackfruit we picked ripe

off the branches, the sole rambutan
that could not bear fruit, the coconut
decaying from within. I caught

butterflies. I flicked my wrist, pressed
their small brown wings. They left
skeins of powder on my fingers. Then

I let them go. I imagined the sea
rose and flooded the garden. The coconut
fell and bobbed in the waves, too dry

and hard to eat, the shell broken
only by a knife.

Author Portrait

Teow Lim Goh’s debut book of poetry Islanders, on the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station, is forthcoming from Conundrum Press in April 2016. Her poetry, essays, and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Pilgrimage, Winter Tangerine Review, The Rumpus, Guernica, and Open Letters Monthly, among other publications.

View the website of Teow Lim Goh