Esther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. A 2015 Poets House Emerging Poet and Queens Council on the Arts Fellow, she has poems published in or forthcoming in Copper Nickel, The Cortland Review, Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, Guernica, Vinyl Poetry and Prose and elsewhere. She teaches in the English Department at Queens College, CUNY, and lives in Jackson Heights. More of her poems are listed at estherlinpoems.wordpress.com.
For December, we bring you this poem about a young woman caught between the bloody edicts of the Cultural Revolution and the transcripted words of Western novels.
—Karissa Chen, Senior Literature Editor
Everything Where It Belongs
How many nights Mei Hsin read of fallen women,
transcribed in her own hand. Pored by lantern light,
one arm an Ionic column, and the rest of her, drapery,
gliding down to inspect the broadsides she’d spent