The page is also the night where i climb out of

by Duy Quang Mai

after Ocean Vuong

i    restart                                                  this sen     tence, i edit edit my
life     off                                                             these fingers these words
they                                                                  ask me how do i do i feel i
feel                                                                    none     nothing    i     am
trying                                                                                     to h        ave
them                                                                                      built   me   a
sound                                                                                     a   sound  of
a                                                                                                   finished
gavel                                                                                                of the
bathtub        water
bubbling with your
lungs              drowned
underneath    the    sky
gray-blue a torn cloth
from the hem of
night my father
                                                                                                came home
                                                                                                begging for
                                                                                         beggin             g
for                                                                                        joy your uncle
’s                                                                                               thighbones
                                                                                            crushed under
the                                                                                          weight      of
                                                                                                gravel inside
                                                                                                   this sterile
Trâu was scraped out of                                                                      your
your                                                                                                  grand
pa                                                                                                     where
is      he                                                                                               now
ông                                                                                            ơi      ông
ơi                                                                                                     climb
out                                                                                               of    this
dirt                                                                                         i’m building
you                                                                                            a new one
here this                                                                                  page i need
i        need                                                                                   lurching
beneath                                                                                    the soft an
imal     of                                                                                 your    face
your                                                                                            brother’s
face        our                                                                              hard flesh
melded into quiet our sweats                                                      trickling
                                                                                  beneath the glow of
ghosts                                                                       hardening inside our
palms                                                                    my palms two pools of
salted                                                                                   grief the page
with                                                                                    sweatshops &
metaphors        these                                                                   purpling
adjectives   the   hurt
this flat
boat    of
lives i                                                     have lived
long                                                                                           so long so
tired                                                                                          sometimes
the                                                                                            page rustles
into a                                                                                           heartbeat
brewing    december    snow                                                      inside these
papers  where                                                                            i fold them
paperplanes                                                                             like hail like
blizzards                                                                                    everywhere
the graveyard                                                                               of the sky
this            is                                                                               where the
dead    relives                                                    into    sawdust   the    vinyl
records                                                                                            playing
outdated                                                                                            blues
where i coffin                                                                                       first
loves where i                                                                                          left
bodies   to    seasoned
wheatfields o                                                                                     paper
o page i am                                                                                     hungry
for           ou                                                                             r      second
chance in                                                                                     mars i’ve
re                                                                                                 ached the
knifed                                                                       edges                     i’ve
reached                                                                      the en     d & those c
uckoos’                                                                                                wing
s       being                                                                  unfolded                a
fter      all                                                                  that                        all
that        my                                                         ink          has been white.