“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

Aspen Eyes

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In a dream, I drive past
a splintered tree

that is you and I

A quaking aspen with
her limbs felled.

Somehow I know this
is a past life

where night reveals
herself in negatives.

Behind whale blue
hides a bloodbath sky

your myoglobin womb
a moss cocoon

and I am an unborn
seedling sowed

from your demise.
In every life

except this one

you die so
I live.

You lurk alive
in my waking hills,

aspen eyes unblinking
in the dawning air.

Even in dreams,
I cannot drive.

Spirits sprint in rearview.
The trees exhale their grudges

blowing blame
in the direction of wildfire.

The Secret

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I lick the bluebells by the bus
and all the hens crow.

Where is the secret
God owes me

Sharp and sheathed
and silver to bless me.

A worker switches on
the light in my chest.

Bone white glare
of the cold abattoir.

Among us he strolls
across mounds of debris:

Five floors of rust,
hook, shadow.

Outside, crows tread
the afternoon haze.

A freight truck shrieks
its brakes too late.

How pretty the sight,
He says.

A wall of red fates dangling
by the heels in wait.

Appears in this issue

Terry Nguyen’s reporting, essays, and criticism have been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone & Vice among others.

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