Aftermath

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.

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1 Response to Aftermath

  1. Daedalus Lex says:

    Love the form. It gives a pace to the poem reminiscent of W. C. Williams.

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