still, we are learning
to play the tender chords
of our veins. last night, we woke
to find our names replaced
by the names of flowers
under napalm skies, when
the others have already begun
plucking the ricochets of dawn
from charcoaled petals.
I wanted to crawl. I wanted to crawl
with the might of every river
pulsing through my blood, to chew
on the bones of fallen sparrows
and beg for flight. have I told you
about my father, how when he fell
he could feel every acre of the burnt
field on his ripened skin,
the skin we praise for its potential, the heartbeat
alive with thunder sealed beneath.
even when I found the stars sealed shut by ash,
I dug through an entire field
of bones to find an eye, for its glistening iris I held
against the sky, to reveal the husk
of every name passing through the tattered wind,
I slid all of them beneath my tongue
to remember. this was even before the children
delivered by warplanes, when we waited for the dust
to settle, yelling with the moon pouring down our throats,
and waited for the only mercy we knew
when we cracked open the bomb’s shell
to find our bodies inside.
Spencer Chang is a writer from Taipei, Taiwan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rising Phoenix Review, Rabbit, Blue Marble Review, The Daphne Review, and elsewhere.