to my friends who are in vn right now
please stop by and light
a stick of incense for my father.
he was my father, you know, for so many years.
tell him i am sorry
i am not there
to carry his framed
bony sunken face,
his love burrowed deep as purple yam
summers, morning walks to the coffee shop high
on his shoulders, autumn festivals made bright with cheap cinder sticks.
tell him i cannot
come because there are children
who need their mother i
cannot leave them like he left us
our somnolent childhood wandering
the streets drenched in afternoon sun.
tell him, sometimes i get mixed up, the skies
here and in bien hoa, why i drive the road like a drug,
it helps me get home, even
if i don't know where home is.
tell him that
but i guess it doesn't matter now, death is
the great disambiguator sweeping memories into an urn.
that's it. say nothing.
just light the incense, and give him a kiss
(for my fathers, dad and ông bảy)