A new poem by Cynthia Dewi Oka (Poetry ’19)

2019 alum Cynthia Dewi Oka was recently featured in the Massachusetts Review. Read an excerpt of “Poet, Formerly Known as Activist, Formerly Known as Child Of God” below:

Poet, Formerly Known as Activist, Formerly Known as Child Of God

Having lost my faith, again, in the given of an indifferent, discoverable order wherein my injuries might be filed alphabetically, safe from tsunamis and termites in color-coded cardboard boxes labeled International Relations, American History, Political Economy, the High Priestess, so that they might emerge aromatic, lipsticked, the day I am, at last, called to the podium of the ultraviolet narrative that is the stranger’s literary citizenship in this country, which admires distillation, as in, here is my venti cup of suffering, but also complexity, as in, can you detect the floral notes in it;

having fled my home, again, the gossiping bamboos, ax with its face buried in a stump in the yard, the front steps flecked with cigarette ash and occasionally, cat piss—details that for a while kept the sweetness at bay, sweetness I did not have the webbing to hold and therefore resisted with my life, leaving me brittle, my head a cauldron tipping from side to side, saying, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, in iron urgency—I was strict with it—determined to “channel my anger” as admonished by the nonprofit feminists, though relief would have been to waste it, to let scald in every direction…


Read this poem in its entirety here: https://massreview.org/sites/default/files/16_63.1Oka.pdf