Poetry Archive

Time to Depart

Time to depart. Goodbye.
Umbrellas of yellow facts
Made in China.
I leave with boxes, cash squirreled in a wallet,
an adventure or three.
People fight for a tomorrow
I read about an ocean away.

In Greater China,
my single lid eyes,
fair skin, black hair
pass Go, collect $200.
English, the catch and release.
An American, neither Quiet nor Young.
Western, not blonde. Asian/American.
The Great Wall enslaves.
A script gouges poverty.
Sons as legends? Unbroken history?
I’m a woman, a heretic,
sharing a peach of sugar and stars.
I am your stranger.

My home burns and weeps.
Hands up. Hands up.
The guns! The guns!
Children shot.
Black lives built the dreams,
yet nightmares haunt those who yearn to love.
My land is smallpox blankets, whippings,
ghettoed men who laundered without love.
Ancestors dying for pineapples and cane.
Bloodied hands and scarred backs.
Lynching, an innocent’s reward.
Women scrawl for cents,
rainbows fear storms,
children flee through deserts under starry nights.
My body yearns for flight.

Umbrellas Open. Hands Up.

Across oceans under snapping umbrellas,
I hold hands, remembering how the heart splits 

into one thing as we live another,
humbled by the brave,
by those who dare the thread of now.

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Stephanie Han delivers women’s creative writing workshops on drstephaniehan.com that focus on empowerment through narrative. ‘Time to Depart’ is from her poetry manuscript “Passing in the Middle Kingdom” a Wilder Prize finalist. She authored the fiction collection Swimming in Hong Kong, recipient of the Paterson Fiction Prize, finalist for AWP’s Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and the Spokane Prize, and shortlisted for an Asian Books Blog Award. She lives in Hawai’i, home of her family since 1904.