Ask me where I’m from, & depending on the day
/ immigrant I feel like being, I may point at the skyas if it were the embodiment of all places. Ask me
what I’ve given up, & depending on the hour/ emigrant I feel like honoring, I may point at the dirt
as if it were the embodiment of all things. Ask mewhat it’s like to now be an American, & I’ll explain
why motionless people will never understand a subjectwithout a verb. Come, sit—stand, if you like. Ask
the arrow what it misses of the bow, & it’ll say yes.Ask the throat what it misses of a word, & it’ll cry
out: I don’t know if I’ll ever find another like it. Askthe navy noren curtains hanging in each of my doorways
why they choose to part the rooms of my house, &they may say: because that’s what we’re made for. Ask me
where I’m going, & depending on the minute, I may pointsimply forward, may move to the front of the flock.
Copyright © 2018 by James A. H. White
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
James A. H. White is a first generation Japanese-British U.S. immigrant and an emerging gay poet currently working on his first full-length collection. Winner of an AWP Intro Journals Project award for poetry, he is the author of the chapbook hiku [pull] (Porkbelly Press, 2016). His poems have been published by, or are forthcoming with, Best New British & Irish Poets 2018, Blackwarrior Review, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, and Washington Square Review, among other journals. He is an Instructor of English at Florida Atlantic University where he was a Lawrence A. Sanders poet fellow.
River Styx began in the early 1970s when a group of poets and musicians began reading and jamming together in various St. Louis apartments. The first issue of River Styx Magazine, printed on a lithographic press and hand-collated, hit the streets a few years later in 1975. Both the magazine and the readings were characterized by energy, accessibility, humor, wit and a spirit of inclusiveness.
In the 37 years that followed, the readings took place each month at Duff’s Restaurant in St. Louis, often packed to capacity, and River Styx magazine bloomed into an international, award-winning journal of poetry, fiction, essays, interviews and art. The magazine has consistently been one of the first to publish some of the most important writers of our time, from U.S. Poet Laureates (Howard Nemerov, Mona Van Duyn, Rita Dove, Robert Hass and Ted Kooser), to Pulitzer Prize-Winners (Yusef Komunyakaa), to Nobel Laureates (Derek Walcott and Czeslaw Milosz).