Skip to content

It’s true I’m all talk & a French tuck

but so what. Like the wind, I ride

my own life. Neon light electric

in the wet part of roadkill

on the street where I cut my teeth

on the good sin. I want to

take care of our planet

because I need a beautiful

graveyard. It’s true I’m not a writer

but a faucet underwater. When the flood comes

I’ll raise my hand so they know

who to shoot. The sky flashes. The sea

yearns. I myself

am hell. Everyone’s here. Sometimes

I go to parties just to dangle my feet

out of high windows, among people.

This boy crying in his car

after his shift at McDonald’s

on Easter Sunday. The way

he wipes his eyes with his shirt

as the big trucks blare

off the interstate. My favorite

kind of darkness is the one

inside us, I want to tell him.

&: I like the way your apron

makes it look like you’re ready

for war. I too am ready for war.

Given another chance, I’d pick the life

where I play the piano

in a room with no roof. Broken keys, Bach

sonata like footsteps fast

down the stairs as

my father chases my mother

through New England’s endless

leaves. Maybe I saw a boy

in a black apron crying in a Nissan

the size of a monster’s coffin & knew

I could never be straight. Maybe,

like you, I was one of those people

who loves the world most

when I’m rock-bottom in my fast car

going nowhere.

The Last Prom Queen in Antarctica

Ocean Vuong

More Poetry Readings

Layli Long Soldier