Aya Satoh

M. NourbeSe Philip writes in Zong!: “we differ / are we mad /or merely men without maps / in an age where truth is rare”. This quote has been circling my mind for months. Although Philip’s book is about the murder of Africans aboard a slave ship in 1781, this particular moment leapt across centuries and asked me to consider what it could mean in 2017 in the United States. More than ever now, we need voices that speak rare truths, that force the reader to stare uncomfortably into this mapless place, and create a small path into the liminal space that myself and many other poets and people of color inhabit. These pieces for Anomaly’s Radical: Avant Garde Poets of Color were inspired by Philip’s quote and written into the silence between language, languages, and truth. 

BONE DRY I SAID

My veins run hot and thick with soup / the options: / 豚骨 / だし / お茶ずけ / 麦茶 / カレー(うどんのつゆ)  // Empty the witch of her indigo resin / let it drain in a passive sense. // The thicker the noodle, the more I desire it— / this serious scientific work is radically confused. / Every night a tiny needle a small bat. // Blood sausage never made it big in my hometown but oh did we swap my blood with / soup. // confusion awaits / in the wings // {} // Sing me through this aeration / Sing me under this slurp // You’re right, / お茶より血。

MUD

Pull mud past the teeth // to sieve the pebbles out // the grassblades that sharped in the rain // This technique I’ve used / an entire life / perfecting. // And we spent years eating the foundation / sifting bone shards dumpling bugs butt ends of cicadas // it is significant and difficult / that my lunch tastes of rot or stinking feet to them / how its strings ooze over my chopsticks and onto their offended palate // mud fry with rice mud cakes beaten to compliance mud ball stuffed with teeth // When my tongue falters I use my finger instead

SMALL TALK

birthplace the weather / Gosh it’s a cold one what a shame you can’t speak your own language / better / I could’ve sworn you were wearing a different costume earlier / Wasn’t it you in that sheetdresscoathatdresspantsskirt / X / It’s just that you’re the same height / and the same hair / and the same eyes / and the same jasmine oolong matcha zen / and the same accent American but foreign / and the same shade of yellow / and the same utensils / and the same geometry that slant just so / and the same we we we we we we we / We are made mad / we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we / we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we / we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we we // We are made mad

Aya Satoh

Aya Satoh was born in Nagoya, Japan and raised in Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Montana, where she is a poetry editor for CutBank Literary Magazine. This is her first publication. 

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