Ocean Vuong


Gian Giacomo Caprotti. to Leonardo Da Vinci


The money gone, I followed you

to the edge of love—only to find the city

sinking. Streets lit with dawn's blue

ashes. But it was the flecks of amber

slipping between the chimneys

that had us running. Dim alleys leading

to nowhere—or water. Then

the Piazza San Marco opening

the Mediterranean. That sudden

brightness. Pigeons crumbling

from the angels' rusted shoulders

in the hour before Venice vanished

beneath the crowd. Hour of birdsong

falling like pebbles on the promenade.

And the year's first widow chanting a new

god's name into the sea. Her body a stitch

in the shore. Brief inventor, make me

new again. For the heart fails not in its breaking

but the tightening. For the sun came on.

The plaza erupted in panels of blood.

And you were still my king. And I, still—

your king.

Ocean Vuong

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Ocean Vuong

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong is the author of two chapbooks: NO (YesYes Books, 2013) and BURNINGS (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010), which was selected by the American Library Association's "Over The Rainbow" recommended reading list. A recipient of a 2013 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, Verse Daily, Quarterly West, Guernica, Poetry Northwest, and The Normal School, amongst others. He lives in Queens, NY. (www.oceanvuong.tumblr.com)