WE ARE A LONG CLOTH

i joy the grief of ancestor worship—
days we eat….feed neighbors too
permit winds to pass through
kitchen and altar house
the courtyard and back
out to gardens

red gladiola spears in vases
call of incense over spread of rice curry noodles
welcome you home with smoke feast

….….….draw you from your spirit plane to our blessed dishes
….….….….….….a tie to the tip of this lifetime
….….….you no ghost
i watch from this side of ocean
….….….….….….water-logged tinted surf
….….….….….….….….….you wave waked
….….….cinder brick breaker
….….….….….….….….….….….….roll this seawater passage pacific version

….….….….….….reach across blood

i sense your ancestral saggital body
hang back
not left behind but tempoed
dragging…..timing and blocking
….….….wrong turns
the thump of a shovel
….….….air in a word
decide interlacing fingers
….….….must be all-in …..backs.heaving
toss dirt …..push water….. parent parent of child
a line….. replication…..a cord you commit to
may never leave

.

.

FOR THE MAN WHO PLAYED MAKE BELIEVE IN MY BED

—after Hanif Abdurraqib

I am in the mood to mourn / against the storm outside / I tear up under covers / turn on a warm light / Darling / I want your fingers / inside me / which I mistake / for the touch of love / too often / When you tell me / what you are usually like / I can only take your word / Flirt with the idea / that your sigh tells me more / Give you credit / for maybe thinking / yourself in love / I linger / The image I paint / clambers out desperate / for a front yard / I offer you / the sampler platter / Accept wedding / picture as rescue / operation / Save myself / Salt my self / This smoked preservation / I’ll make prosciutto of my limbs / Call the slicing / a sign / of your sacrifice / My hand / a curled hoof / will bear your bloody ring / thus / belonging / while my flesh / dries / cures to your taste / in the shed out back / When I’m done / you will take me / in your maw / Masticate / and drool / This way / I’ll stay.

Phuong TVuong has been awarded fellowships from Tin House, VONA/Voices, and Kearny Street Workshop’s Interdisciplinary Writers Lab. She has publications in The Asian American Writers’ Workshop: The MarginsDuendeCutthroatApogee, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection The House I Inherit was released from Finishing Line Press in early 2019. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder.