My Daughter’s Room
My daughter lies sick in bed. I pace across the small room,
rubbing my hands together while she tosses and groans in pain,
her hair stuck to her head that is hot with fever, her eyes
cloudy and far away. Outside, the snow melts on the fence
as if nothing had ever changed and never would. A few eager
birds have returned north too soon and a few blades of grass
have sprung up amongst last fall’s dead growth. In her room,
my daughter’s presence, like that of the universe, goes on
forever and is filled with stars. As I reach the light, one
star recedes and another winks into sight. In this blink
of time, I bend and brush her arm. She opens her eyes
and my dead father looks out, his smile both wan and sly.
Another Saigon Intersection
There is a monk who haunts me. Not the one burning,
the black human smoke rising up my nose, but the one
who is alive, the sparrow who flies into the wind,
the one who is a flower. Thirty years ago that man
sat down. What’s happened since that afternoon?
I have busied myself counting the leaves that have fallen
from the cottonwood trees along the street. My father is dead.
My daughter has been born and only yesterday celebrated
her fourth birthday on this earth. I look at her
and cry. I thought I’d get used to her. Five million
old people tell me I never will — each day these tears of joy.