Among the traffic lights, I find

Vivien Song

          after Emily Yin

America. This is

a mistake. The sun is 

so gorgeous here, Mother says.

Two miles before the end

of the road, before men 

can ready their punches

& watch animals starved

in my wake. Inside this car, 

anything can look like peace.

A low country & a minefield

of bright signs. Undying pledges.

The bullets we buried

on our way home. Once, I was

given a wreath of lightbulbs 

& told to disappear.

Once, I hurtled my body toward

a firefly like I was holy. My

mistake. Streetlights shudder,

stop, shadows angled

toward limbs crumpled

on the ground like soot. I roll,

roll the blinds up & then I see

the body, its hand reaching for

my throat like any firecracker

dying with an empty moon. So much

violence. The exit signs ablaze. No

return. I want to set this car on fire

& lay here as a deer. Isn’t that poetic?

Later, we raze the deer on the freeway

to reach an altar of stars and stripes.

My face is my face wearing

a butcher’s robe. Too late, Mother,

I never wanted to be religious. I’m trying

to make this a joke. This nation

we so revere, not close enough 

to touch. Here is the head I cut off 

to be a sacrifice, lurching like an eagle’s

frame, sitting in the passenger seat,

turning the windows dark.


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