Cathy Linh Che

To a Daughter—



I want you to know how it feels like—

no, I don’t want you to know.


To singe and burn with manna

on the tongue.


When you open this, think of it

as a door to a confessional.


The page rises with the odor

of incense and sandalwood.


There are things I can never

protect you from.


When you confess to me,

I can only listen like a priest


and believe.


CATHY LINH CHE is the author of the poetry collection, Split (Alice James Books, 2014), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is a poet, teacher, and arts administrator living in Brooklyn, NY.