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Terence Winch

Lyn Li Che: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Lyn Li Che  web

















On the corner of 12th and Market, a man says

            Nihao, China and I’m in love,  

I just don’t know it yet. One day, I’ll love  

            the slant of my eyes, their slashing stare.

I’ll love the ching-chong clamour of the old country   

            and my grandfather’s names: both the one  

he was given and the one taken away   

            by the registrar’s pen. None of his siblings  

had the same last name but I’ll love them too:  

            the Che’s and Chen’s and Chong’s, all laid out  

like a racist’s naughty nursery rhyme.  

            I’ll be shook by my buck-toothed gook

reflection. I’ll be cool with my coolie shape  

            and my sideways drape, how easily   

my body zipperheads into anything else –  

            a container of chowmein, a coin slot  

cooter choking open. I’ll be someone’s 

            bamboo chink and kimchee kink, though bitch,  

I’m not even Korean. I’ll stan   

            my Jackie Chan doyenne Chinaman  

brand. I’ll idealize this Oriental disguise.

            I hope I just don’t know it yet.  


Lyn Li Che was born in Malaysia. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Michigan Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Waxwing, PANK, Passages North, Tupelo Quarterly, BOAAT, River Styx, and others. A 2021 Kundiman Mentorship Lab Fellow, she currently lives in New York City, where she works in tech strategy.


Artwork_mohd-noor-mahmud_siri-kala-kota-bharu-series_main-ayun_2006_01.jpg__1000x1000_q85_subsampling-2                 Mohd Noor Mahmud, Siri Kala Kota Bharu series: Main Ayun, acrylic on wood, 2006

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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