Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong

   Ocean, don’t be afraid. 

    The end of the road is so far ahead 

    it is already behind us. 

    Don’t worry. Your father is only your father 

    until one of you forgets. Like how the spine 

    won’t remember its wings 

    no matter how many times our knees 

    kiss the pavement. Ocean, 

    are you listening? The most beautiful part 

    of your body is wherever 

    your mother’s shadow falls. 

    Here’s the house with childhood 

    whittled down to a single red trip wire. 

    Don’t worry. Just call it horizon 

    & you’ll never reach it. 

    Here’s today. Jump. I promise it’s not 

    a lifeboat. Here’s the man 

    whose arms are wide enough to gather 

    your leaving. & here the moment, 

    just after the lights go out, when you can still see 

    the faint torch between his legs. 

    How you use it again & again 

    to find your own hands. 

    You asked for a second chance 

    & are given a mouth to empty out of. 

    Don’t be afraid, the gunfire 

    is only the sound of people 

    trying to live a little longer 

    & failing, Ocean. Ocean – 

    get up. The most beautiful part of your body 

    is where it’s headed. & remember, 

    loneliness is still time spent 

    with the world. Here’s  

    the room with everyone in it. 

    Your dead friends passing 

    through you like wind 

    through a wind chime. Here’s a desk 

    with the gimp leg & a brick 

    to make it last. Yes, here’s a room 

    so warm and blood-close, 

    I swear, you will wake – 

    & mistake these walls 

    for skin. 


from Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon, 2016/Cape 2017), copyright © Ocean Vuong 2016, used by permission of the author and the publishers

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