Faraway Places

Desire makes us face ourselves. The selves

we keep at bay want to break out of our bodies.


I wonder if the saying that women cannot read maps is meant

to keep us from venturing out on our own.


Maps are guides to our dreams,

where we want to go and who we want to be.


I heard a crack that sounded

like a thunderbolt, but it was not the sky.


Dust blows in the wind to faraway places, washed

out to sea and rolled back to shore.


Maps hold the stories of our lives, a record

of journeys into the unknown.


I leave it for the waves to reclaim, the sand to fill,

the hole I make in my wake. 

Teow Lim Goh

Teow Lim Goh is the author of Islanders (Conundrum Press, 2016), a volume of poems on the history of Chinese exclusion at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Her work has been featured in Tin House, Catapult, PBS NewsHour, Colorado Public Radio, and The New Yorker. She lives in Denver.