The Hatch

When the Hatch appeared at my bedside,
I had one hour to choose
Three stations my Hatch would lead to,
Fixed coordinates never to move.

Place One I chose my grandmother’s house,
For months we had weekly teas.
Then one day she died suddenly
And a stranger took over the lease.

Place Two I picked a park in home country,
Where I had flown kites as a girl.
Eight times I went and walked in memory,
Until war began to unfurl.

Place Three I found a stretch of island beach
To feel the calming breeze.
For a year I dug my toes into sand before
It was claimed by rising seas.

Then my Hatch awoke with a cackle,
Breaking its silence to say,
Stranger’s lawn, battlefield, or drowning
—where will you go today?

—Cat S. Chen