November Poetry: "Sun" by Lee Herrick

Curated as part of the Adoptee Poetry Folio by Guest Editor Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello
November 9, 2017

This November, to recognize and honor National Adoption Awareness Month, I've invited adoptee poet Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello to curate a folio of poems by 10 Asian American adoptees. This page features Lee Herrick's poem, "Sun." I invite you to take a moment to read her moving introduction to the folio here, as well as the other nine poems in this collection.

— Eugenia Leigh, Poetry Editor


         The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can
         still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

                              — Galileo

When I was a boy and the moon had not yet occurred to me,
the astronomy of my body was simple and true.

I was all sun, all heat, all brown adoption high on fire.
I got lost in a forest I thought was an ocean.

My sister knew it was a lake but let me figure it out.
I saw the lilies, the dying, the heartbreak to come.

So I came to the idea that I would not die
before I spent a full night staring up at the moon

before I wrote a poem near Teotihuacan,
before I returned to the city in which I became an erasure

before the other side of planet becomes home,
the California poppies in the front yard, the grape

vines in full regalia with their questions
exploding right there on the branch.


This piece was published as part of the November Adoptee Literature Folio. To see other works from the folio, please visit the table of contents here.


Lee Herrick

Lee Herrick is the author of two books, Gardening Secrets of the Dead and This Many Miles from Desire, and his poems appear widely in literary magazines, textbooks and anthologies, including Columbia Poetry Review, The Normal School, Visions Across the Americas, and Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, among others. Born in Daejeon, Korea, and adopted at 10 months old, he is a Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus and teaches at Fresno City College and the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.