The narrow clearing down to the river
I walk alone, out of breath
my body catching on each branch.
Small children maneuver around me.
Often, I want to return to my old body
a body I also hated, but hate less
Sometimes my friends—my friends
who are always beautiful & heartbroken
look at me like they know
I will die before them.
I think the life I want
is the life I have, but how can I be sure?
There are days when I give up on my body
but not the world. I am alive.
I know this. Alive now
to see the world, to see the river
rupture everything with its light.
Copyright © 2017 by Hieu Minh Nguyen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 27, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
Nothing exists as a block and cannot be parceled up. So if nothing's ventured it's not just talk; it's the big wager. Don't you wonder how people think the banks of space and time don't matter? How they'll drain the big tanks down to slime and salamanders and want thanks?
From Say Uncle by Kay Ryan, published by Grove Press. Copyright © 2000 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
I told a million lies now it’s time to tell a single truth Sometimes I cry It’s hard dealing with my pride Not knowing whether to fight or flee Sometimes I cry Hard to maintain this image of a tough guy When deep down inside I am terrified If I ever told you I wasn’t scared I lied Struggling to make it back To society and my family I cry I cry for my son who I barely see Due to these mountains And me and his mom’s beef I cry for my siblings who never knew their older brother Because he stayed in the streets I cry for my grandma who is now deceased I cry for my life, half of which they took for me I cry for my anger and rage The only emotions I can show in this place I cry for how we treat each other inside these walls I cry for the lack of unity we have most of all When will it end I want to know Till then all I can do is let these tears flow
Copyright © 2019 by DJ. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 19, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.