Tula by Chris Santiago

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

Our guest editor is Su Hwang, author of Lyricality’s Read Poetry 2020 selection Bodega.

Chris Santiago is the author of Tula, selected by A. Van Jordan as the winner of the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry. A 2017 Finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and 2018 McKnight Writing Fellow, he is Associate Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas and Poetry Mentor for The Loft’s 2021-2022 Mentor Series.

Su Hwang selects “Tula” by Chris Santiago

by Chris Santiago

An immigrant’s son
I have ears like the blind.

Music comes easily;
night frightens me.

Home late from the hospital, she comes to my door––
I fake sleep.

She sings a soothing song
in the language I never learned:

prayers against rain.
Catalog of mythic birds.

As many names for music
as English has for theft.

Using them I invent
a country with only two citizens.

The word I choose for mother
sounds like the one for dream.

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“Tula” by Chris Santiago from TULA, Milkweed Editions ©2016. Appears here with permission of the author.

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