Ode to Ocean


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Kunming, China, February 2015


Ocean, when you read the sky opened

And rained ashes on the already charred earth

My bed feels a little smaller than the expanse I imagined it to be these days

These days it’s a little hard to get out of bed


I lie here until I am no longer comfortable, until my skin and bones have melted into the box-spring, until all I see is ceiling and want nothing but to close my eyes and just forget

Forget all these things I was called instead of my name, forget my family behind in the planes that fly above me, forget I was somebody’s daughter and someone else’s teacher, Rachmaninoff dying on the sheets in my gnarled hands


Ocean, when you read I saw the black hole sink a little, spit out the universe again in my watery eyes mascara-less my chapstick-ed mouth dry

I remember why I too left the Pacific to come to the city of dreams

The city that swallows its children alive


Ocean, all I want to do is leave all of this behind –

This little cell with its pretty desk and lofted bed and free showers

All of this and I have never yet lived


*Response poem to reading poet Ocean Vuong’s essay Beginnings: New York link



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