Instead Let Us Dream

instead, let us pray for good sleep.
imagine the tongue as a needle, thin
enough to pass through the skin, we lay
our heads back disturbing not even
the dust, the stars dancing chaotically
around us. let this be the only night
we remember, and let us wake to the sound
of birds, that can sound like an orphan’s cry
or a gunshot, depending on which ear
you suffocate. once I reached through
a dream to touch my father’s hands.
his face blurred & chest hollowed
from a landmine. today, I spend more time
washing my hands than any other part
of this body. I spend winters burning incense
and every old photograph I can find. I keep
his portrait on the opposite side of the bed,
closing the curtains to watch moonlight
snap like a bone. I want to strip away
every unbearable part, my thinning face
my foreign tongue that echoes his.
at times it seems impossible to remember
something this foreign.

still, let us pray for good sleep,
and may we forgive ourselves,
when this house burns again.

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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