Here is a gravel road, Việt Nam. Here are patches of tropic
grass that line the road, & within them leaves that rattle
like saltshakers. Here is your home, fences of bamboo tied together
in black arches, & above them roofs of damp thatch that drip
to the sleeping bodies below. Here are doors so blood-warm
you can see handprints, the air’s breath a hollowed white.
Children in a swarm. Rickshaws drop like fly’s eggs,
their drivers resting in a sweat-smoked ease. Outside, the churchyard
sycamores howl, & inside, you hold tight onto your sister’s hand,
pray one day to be on the other side of the Pacific,
in America, your body bowed like a bowstring. Overhead,
God throws stars like knives. Finches glisten in & out of moonlight.
We kneel in pews together every Sunday in Houston
suburbia. You count dreams like feathers plucked
from quail’s underbelly. I count fluorescent lights on the ceiling
& ask myself how much darker the room would be with
one singed. We listen to a sermon on faith, & I calculate
its equivalent in miles, the size of another ocean to cross.