Chiwan Choi’s The Yellow House (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017) embraces us like a sad song for what is lost and left behind. The image of the Yellow House seems at times to represent the emotional weight of nostalgia, and at times the madness we inhabit, the place between here and there, between then and now, the irreconcilable distances within those who migrated and never found themselves after the displacement.
On page 39, the lines “We are in the process of beginning again, purging/ boxing up regrets” made me hold the book to my chest, cherishing the words speaking to me so eloquently about my constant looking for a place to set roots, to rest. On page 91, “caught between leaving/ and being left behind” brings back to me the idea that we’ll never belong anywhere, not in the place we left, not in the place we arrived to. In those verses, I feel writing as a survival of the sorrow of displacement.
Choi’s The Yellow House evokes memories that caress my nostalgic spirit like a balm.