In this glossary of something else,
I put my energy into the unconditional
repertoire of fondness
as we wept at the close of Ghibli’s Kaguya-
hime in the theater where we also debated
if language could truly
appear in exile,
and my friend took
that second job after graduating.
I saw her hands folded
under the sheet, and the pain
near her belly, what was once
an archaeologist labeled, prehistoric,
or what leapt off the pier
with a skeleton
in my country,
or, into that scene of it,
a seer with her bones jangling about.
Such vibrations didn’t matter,
but a wandering
through the subterranean streams,
at the border nearing
my mother’s nation and this one.
I recognized love
for what you were
in this icy desert like the deft
hands which spelled out, “và,”
in Vietnamese, or the word “and”
that accidental exit
moving away in this accidental sound,
as you said,
that boat was no longer her story;
or to wait,
an hourglass of torture.
How did và
extend beyond our waiting?
Who was there, afloat upon
line or tarragon of pulp
to spell out these whole
butcheries of speech;
how could I carve
these moments in your likeness,
asked an oracle of bone,
but then the people looked up
from their parted seas, and out of that,
a fishing boat,
what loosened us beyond the ridge?
It doesn’t matter, you said,
the archaeologist falling asleep.
I stared into Mars
beyond somewhere outside,
the head-on red
collision, what couldn’t wake
Sophia Terazawa is the author of Winter Phoenix (Deep Vellum) and two chapbooks, I AM NOT A WAR (Essay Press) and Correspondent Medley (Factory Hollow Press), winner of the 2018 Tomaž Šalamun Prize.