Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Water Grave

We cross under
the midnight shield
and learn that bullets

can curse the air.
A symposium
of endangered stars

evicts itself to
the water. Another
convoy leaves the kiln.

The crowded dead
turn into the earth’s
unfolded bed sheet.

We drift near banks,
creatures of the Mekong,
heads bobbing like

ghosts without bodies,
toward the farthest shore.
With every treading

soak, the wading leg,
we beg ourselves to live,
to float the mortared

cartilage and burial
tissue in this river yard
of amputated hearts.

Credit


This poem originally appeared in American Poets, Spring-Summer 2016. Copyright © 2016 Mai Der Vang. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Mai Der Vang

Mai Der Vang's debut poetry collection, Afterland, was selected by Carolyn Forché as the winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award, given by the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2016-03-11

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/water-grave