April Naoko Heck

April Naoko Heck was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1971, and moved to the United States seven years later. Her poems have most recently appeared in Artful Dodge, Borderland: Texas Quarterly Review, Epiphany, and Shenandoah. She has received an AWP Intro Journals Award and held a writers residency at VCCA. She currently works as the readings coordinator at the NYU Creative Writing Program, and lives in Brooklyn.

Updated April 2010

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems: "Spark," "Distances" & "All day people poured into Asano Park"

SparkUse room-temperature water, never ice. Skin holds heat,you think you’re more burned than you are.Your singed hair crimps and smells like eggsthat once cooked on the farmhouse’s old gas stove.Bathwater runs faster than a sink’s, you kneelto turn your face under the tub’s faucet.If you’d followed directions, you’d bein the pasture instead, palming sugar to the horses. Which sent you reeling back, the oven’s flashor pressure, the heat or fear? Obaasan fell forwardbut that was different, that was a great wind, that was outside;you’re in a hous…

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems: "Conversation with My Mother" & "Translation"

Conversation with My Mother How much fabric was left?         Not much. Boro-boro, Obaasan said. Shreds. And your mother recognized her by the fabric          Yes. If the fabric was in shreds, she was almost naked?         No, she wore white cotton undergarments. And they still covered her body?         They covered her body. They weren’t torn like her blouse and pants?         They…

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poem: "The Leaf Book"

The Leaf BookIn the fall of third grade, when my teacherassigns the leaf-book project—collectand name at least a dozen tree leaves—my dad drives our family to an arboretum,he brings a field guide and we’re all leaf-picking,all saying gingko, chestnut, walnut, buckeye.Mama writes down American names,learns too that rootbeer-scented sassafras bearthree kinds of leaves: mittens, gloves, and palms. The night before my book’s due, he stays up.He helps sort leaf after leaf, irons thembetween waxpaper pages he’s cut.By the circular light of a lamphe grows younger and…

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