This poem originally appeared in the August, 2013 issue of B O D Y.
TORSO OF AIR
Suppose you do change your life.
& the body is more than
a portion of night—sealed
with bruises. Suppose you woke
& found your shadow replaced
by a black wolf. The boy, beautiful
and gone. So you take the knife to the wall
instead. You carve & carve.
Until a coin of light appears
& you get to look in, for once,
on happiness. The eye
staring back from the other side—
OCEAN VUONG is the author of two chapbooks: NO (YesYes Books, 2013) and BURNINGS (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010), which was an American Library Association’s Over The Rainbow selection. A recipient of a 2014 Pushcart Prize, other honors include fellowships from Kundiman, Poets House, and the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, as well as the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Poems appear in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Quarterly West, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, Poetry Northwest, and The Normal School, amongst others. In 2014 he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship. He lives in Queens, NY.
Read more by Ocean Vuong:
Poem in Guernica