Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 2



Wuttipol "Dome" Khirin


At LAX

To the lady with
an Arya tote
bag in her hand,
who has just

accused me of
spreading Chinese
virus, I understand

that to you, learning
geography must
feel like a returning

toothache as you
wouldn’t know a map
of Tehran or Bangkok

from a map of
Wuhan. I could
wash my hands

five times a day for
the rest of my
life, and I can

never be pure or
pale like the mucus
you've just coughed

up, not that I
would ever want to, I
promise you.




3700 W Ursula Ave

Here the toilet is out in the open
     in the cage. There is      water, but no soap

to wash our hands. The chaos is frozen.
     They see us through a      compound microscope.

There are no paper towels to dry our hands.
     They didn't give us a      toothbrush or toothpaste.

Their kindness is drier than rich badlands.
     They caught me and my      father and disgraced

and frightened us when they took him from me.
     I've had a cold and      cough for days. I asked

to see a doctor, but it's like a tree
     praying for sprinkles,      miseries unmasked.

Freedom is warm like tears on my cheek. Thank
     god it's everywhere      outside this cold clank.




El Mac's Desert Rose (Nuevas Generaciones)

Hope is all in
a rose. A mural.
A rose mural. It belongs

to Karen
Bracamonte—seven
months pregnant
from Guatemala. It's

all in her hands. This
mural. This wall. This
rose—blooming fire
like a candle in a snow

storm. The fire knows
the rhythm of the
heart before you
do. The rose petals

breathes hope. This
glow. This pink. This
bloom—like her nana's
mosaic dragon breathes

fire that burns an ICE
agent who slams a
14-year-old's brown
face into the grey

pavement right in
front of Mesa
Contemporary Arts
Museum, so hard he

has to inhales dirt
grey like flakes on
desert, then punches
him in the head the

way his neighbors
hate strangers but
love quesadilla. Our
neighbors today are

either unhoped or
delirious with fear
as if a rose of a brown
woman was unworthy

of a second fuchsia
spring, dreaming herself
home. The courage. This
woman. This birth. She

knows unbeing hopeless
isn't being hopeful. This
mural. This wall. This
pink blooms year

after year in the soul
of every human The
rose never wants
your praise. The pink

rose wants you
to join her. She
can't do enough by
herself. She's not a

hero. Calling her
a hero doesn't
absolve you
of your hoarfrosted

morals to set
ice ablaze. This bloom.
This glow. This rose is
oxygen to a world

under water. In a
courtyard where
the mural was
seen, the fire of

hope lingers—the
courage of faith
survives—the
promise of love

stays. The pink
rose lives in us,
flaming.




During the Pandemic

the east building
of the

school where
no one

attends lie
embers

in which shine
the fragments

of a brown fountain
pen



Wuttipol “Dome” Khirin: "I'm a genderqueer feminist poet of color. I lives in Tucson, Arizona, with roots in Bangkok, Thailand where I taught Comparative Literature and conducted Post-/De-/Anti-Colonial Trans*, Non-binary, and Queer+ poetry workshops as well as other advanced poetry workshops. I also teach Tucson Poetry Writing, a free after-school poetry writing program for high school students. My poems are forthcoming in Trans/Space: A Trans*, Non-binary, and Queer+ Poetry Project. I'm also mentoring to incarcerated writers in Free Time: Building a Community of Mentors for Incarcerated Writers."




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