Circumnavigation by Iris A. Law


The way we sat at dinner
over a dish of rank mussels
and talked about food,
one would have thought
we had always been hungry.

We recalled the conquest
of shellfish: bivalves, arthropods
deprived of calcite and scale,
of quivering jellyfish, sliced fresh
on a bed of pickles.

But when we came to the one
delicate variety of creature
trawled from the waters that lap
up against your hometown, its name
escaped you —

language, elusive, slipped
up between us like the sea,
all salt and somnolence,

the way I imagine Magellan
must have seen the tide rising
in the space before the spear hit home
and knew, but could not articulate

that the ocean is a seamless sphere,
binding one broken horizon to the next
under a sky that rarely ever
guides us back to where we began.

– Iris A. Law (from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal)

Iris A. Law is an emerging poet and the editor of the online literary magazine and blog Lantern Review. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Phoebe, Lumina, qarrtsiluni, Kartika Review, and The Stanford Journal of Asian American Studies, and is featured in the anthology A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (ed. Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz, U of Akron Press, 2012). A current Kundiman Fellow, she holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame (2010) and obtained her B.A. in English from Stanford University in 2008. ♦


 by aniie + remora

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