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READ: Marilyn Chin’s New Poem, “Love Story”

Marilyn Chin is a frank and feminist poet who continues to enlarge the Anisfield-Wolf canon.

Like Peter Ho Davies, she is a master of the hyphenated identity, writing, “ I am a Chinese American poet – born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. My poetry both laments and celebrates the ‘hyphenated’ identity.”

Chin, a professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University, has a new poem reaching the 350,000 subscribers to the American Academy of Poet’s digitally delivered Poem-A-Day. Her new work is called “Love Story,” a perennial focus of Chin’s work. Her Anisfield-Wolf winning collection is called “Hard Love Province.”

Of her new poem, the 62-year-old Chin says, “The immigrant couple’s entire life history is told in just five triplet stanzas . . . This might be a typical American story: an immigrant couple gets married, the husband gets a good job (an iron rice bowl), they conceive children, grow old, die peacefully in their new nation. However, their story does not quite end in harmonious resolution. A love story is a never-ending drama.”

Love Story
by Marilyn Chin

The aerogram says come   the photos show bliss
Another felicitous union    a fresh beginning
He’s so handsome fat    she’s so new world slim

The envelopes are red    the writing vermeil
He’ll get a good job    an iron rice bowl won’t break
She’s caught a princely man    a silent one    like her father

Sister dyes pink eggs    Auntie boils cider knuckles
The Great Patriarch is happy    a bouncy grandson
A bundle of joy    from a test tube in heaven

Thank you for your blessings   for your lucky lycee
A young nurse cares for her now    in a small hospice near the sea
He’s alone on Silicon Hill    that’s where he’s happy

Emails turn silent    Instagrams    remiss
Thank you for the white gardenias    they’ll sweeten her soul
The joss paper boats    will net fish for her in the next world

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