Across the Rock

The first time I left home was before I was born.
I was barely formed. A scrap. A sample, at best.

I was more my mother than me, then, 
I think.            We can’t remember.

The plane lifted my mother’s
body lifted mine


from all the earth          from all
    the earth her family’s bones from all

     her brothers from      the bed

  her mother died in    the spoons

in the kitchen the earthen        pots for stew     clams    the black birds

            blue-tipped wing birds the bowls of cherries the fence

        wearing snow       feathers the guitar       in the trees a red bathing suit

 away          awayfrom 


These are not my memories.

The first time I had them I was a scrap.
A pre-heart. I followed her into the air.
I swear. We don’t remember how 

it happened. It happened. We left, 
were lifted, and then
I left. And left, and left.


Franny Choi is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014). She is a Kundiman Fellow, a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, and a recipient of a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. She is currently a Bolin Fellow in English at Williams College, and she co-hosts the podcast VS alongside fellow Dark Noise Collective member Danez Smith.