Esther Lin

Being With Being Like

In the last days 
I wheeled him to the courtyard
for the fountain and the bench.
Where he told me 
stories of my birth
and of my childhood
and I told him 
stories of his birth,
his childhood. 
Because I had heard them
I was now their teller.
And he held my hand.

A Room With a View

In a speech that runs over three pages 

the hero declares his love

though she’s to marry another man

still he does the right thing

he kisses her by the tennis court

the sun leaks into the hills behind his head

when she walks off 

it is like father dying again

the hero left by the grass

at nightfall and he is barefoot



From the Author: I wrote these poems soon after my father died. I found a lot of comfort in reading about youthful love, from Forster to DanteWhether it’s love for a parent or God, it’s fascinating to me how we can more easily understand it through the metaphor of eros. In any case—it helped me.

Esther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. She was a 2020 Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, 2017–19 Wallace Stegner Fellow, and author of The Ghost Wife (Poetry Society of America 2017). She was also the winner of the Crab Orchard Review‘s 2018 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize. Currently she is a resident at the Cité internationale, Paris, and co-organizes for the Undocupoets, which promotes the work of undocumented poets and raises consciousness about the structural barriers they face in the literary community.