This poetry collection is the record of an American's return home after a decade abroad, an exile imposed solely because he loved another man.
In a virtuoso display of lyric and formal inventiveness, Bellin-Oka's poems meditate on the myriad losses engendered by diaspora: of home, family and sexual identity, and spiritual certainty.'Steve Bellin-Oka's poems hold in balance an intensified language and a passionate voice that bring together the struggles of the inner life with stark realities.
This is a book of arresting authenticity.' - Peter Balakian, Pulitzer-Prize winner and judgeFrom 'Self-Portrait as the Chosen One'Long before I was what I am now, shortof breath, bald, just returned with arthritic kneesfrom exile in another country's muck and redvolcanic soil, too near-sighted to discernthe High Plains tumbleweed from the burningbush of myth, scorched now and silent,long before this, I was the first son my mother borethat lived.