To My Fa­ther / To My Un­born Son

The stars are not hered­i­tary.—emily Dick­in­son

New England Review - - Table of Contents - Ocean Vuong

There was a door & then a door

sur­rounded by a for­est.

your eyes.

You move through me like rain heard from an­other coun­try. Yes, you have a coun­try.

Some­day, they will find it

while search­ing for lost ships . . .

Once, I fell in love

dur­ing a slow-mo­tion car crash.

We looked so peace­ful, the cig­a­rette float­ing from his lips

as our heads whip-lashed back into the dream & all

Some­thing was al­ways burn­ing.

was for­given.

Be­cause what you heard, or will hear, is true: I wrote a bet­ter world onto the page

& watched the fire take it back.

Do you un­der­stand? I closed my mouth but could still taste the ash

be­cause my eyes were open.

From men, I learned to praise the thick­ness of walls.

From women, I learned to praise.

If you are given my body, put it down. If you are given any­thing

be sure to leave no tracks in the snow.

Know that I never chose which way the sea­sons turned. That it was al­ways Oc­to­ber

in my throat.

& you: ev­ery leaf

re­fus­ing to rust.

Quick. Can you see the red dark shift­ing?

This means I am touch­ing you. This means

you are not alone—even

as you are not.

If you get there be­fore me, if you think

of noth­ing & my face ap­pears rip­pling

like a torn flag—turn back.

Turn back & find the book

I left us, filled

with all the colors of the sky for­got­ten by gravedig­gers.

Use it. Use it to prove how the stars

were al­ways what we be­lieved

they were: the exit-wounds

of ev­ery

mis­fired word.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.