No matter where we go, there’s a history
of white men describing a landscape
so they can claim it. I look out the window
& I don’t see a sunset, I see a man’s
pink tongue razing the horizon.
I once heard a man describe the village
in Vietnam where my family comes from.
It was beautiful
a poem I would gift my mother
but somewhere in the pastoral I am reminded
a child (recently) was blown apart
after stepping on a mine, a bulb, I guess
blooming forty years later—
maybe it was how the poet said dirt
or maybe it was how he used fire
to describe the trees.
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.