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Origin Story of an Immigrant Father

Anne Kwok

Hong Kong, China

Milton Academy


CAS for Database

Let me tell you something about

this land they say we belong to.

When I was young I held my children

by their teeth. We watched a fog settle

on the mountains behind our village

like dust on my finger. I scooped earth

and packed it tight around my neck

for some warmth, let one child and

one child hang from each shoulder.

The way I floated down that mountain

you would not believe, light as sweat,

some shameless messiah. You closed

your eyes when I whispered to you how

the sun will warm your skin in the morning,

how we sank our weight into bruise-water.

There’s no bible to this sea. We treaded

for hours, this water religious and deep.

I held you both above the surface,

offered you to some foreign land where

you may hold table salt like language

in your mouth and let it froth and froth.


Whether you’ve been to a mountain before or not, this poem will take you to the highest peak, filling you with all the wonder and hope of this immigrant father. The deceptively simple language only adds to the majesty of the scene as you stare down at the vast foreign land.

Anne Kwok is a National Student Poet semifinalist and Foyle Young Poet of the Year. She has been honored by the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, National Poetry Quarterly, and Smith College. Her work is published in Hyphen Magazine, Apprentice Writer and Half Mystic.


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