This essay offers a reading of what could be called a metrological imaginary at work in the writing of Korean American experimental poet Myung Mi Kim and in particular in Kim’s third book, Dura. In Dura, Kim traces a jagged itinerary through the archives of the Atlantic slave trade, imperial networks of exchange, and the settler colonial seizure and parcelization of indigenous lands in order to form the United States. The book continually deploys a quantitative language of number and measure, I argue, in order to highlight how emergent capitalist social relations bind together otherwise discrepant histories of enslavement, dispossession, and exclusion. A kind of historical primer preoccupied with the ways in which space, time, bodies, and laboring activity are rendered measurable and exchangeable, Dura traces the transformation of an older colonial racial order into a contemporary world-system that Cedric Robinson and others have called “racial capitalism.”

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