“What We Hold” & “Michael; December 24th, 1985”

What We Hold

In the warehouse my grandmother’s belongings
reduced to piles of trash bags.

In the camps, my uncle— a single bag,
all he owned, marked by his refugee number

sewn into burlap. Here there are no numbers.
Each bag a shadow I crack and tear

till brilliance, your áo dài refracting the tears
of light. Each silver sequin pinned like petals

of jasmine, frozen in time. Still the petals
of your perfume , I smell, its ghost clinging

to silk, it’s faint, but the numbers cling.
What you left behind in the trash I take and

do what you taught me to do with the lost and
buried. I dig. I remember. what we keep. longing.



Michael; December 24th, 1985

The snow is falling light outside— bliss.
Two in the morning, driving home drunk , the windshield full sprints at the stoplight
into a song of skull and glass, blood abyss.


There is no one inside the 1974 Thunderbird, there is nothing amiss.
His veins are glittering light
The snow is falling light outside— bliss.


Michael collapses at the front door, fingers like brittle little sticks
Smashing against reluctant metal. He stains everything, his blood fluorite
blood abyss.


It wasn’t the crash that took your life,                              death took your heart and kissed
it 17 years later. As quick as memory,                  gone.                 As quick as the stoplight
— bliss.


Like shattered glass, I remember you                              into only bits
My first memory, you pushing me in a wheelbarrow, your face bleached by sunlight


It all decays I wish I knew how tomiss
you. How foul is memory to replace a synapse with shattered light,
into a song. of skull. blood. abyss.

grief poem #4, in traffic

consider the clenched fist as a demonstration of energy transfer: /
hammering a nail into the wall only for the unsightly hole it creates.

"Almost" and Two Poems

the whale doesn’t move // the sea fills its stomach // with things that cannot sing

voice in air: afterthought

I / stare at the spider’s manifold legs / & little clawed mandible flickering / with evening’s shine, tittering / corners of death’s bite.