as a product of the country I am from

I take off my watch and write the best poem I know

while in a moving vehicle

the constant practice of holding my breath and letting it go

not unlike the shadow of the black and white checkered flags cursing the race

red-white-and-blue ripples reflecting in the corner of a new car windshield

no down payments

only neon number decals that mimic excited handwriting

announcing a good deal that could be yours

we are fake flowers on loud tablecloths

your lips I kiss are that side of a building

an obvious pink

when the sun is setting before it is officially autumn or dusk

this week I have been resisting to remove my rings

habits I formed and wanted to keep

must I prove my age to myself all of a sudden?

we follow signs to Seattle

I toss a pocket full of darts out the car window

a net for a better poem I want to write

I felt nothing when accidentally deleting all of my word docs

I was ashamed to find they weren’t permanently gone

I become tired of sleeping on my side

so I nurture the opportunity to hold you

in a way that is easy to reach your belly button

which is sideways and ready

a bowl of water I tip over slightly

nghiêng nước nghiêng thành

something so beautiful to the point of driving a leader of an empire mad

a drop of you is my drink of plainwater


I’m looking for a corresponding flavor

measuring the change of decay over the passage of time

in the disco light of your eye contact

an incantation


the door to the basement has two locks on it

a trinket

you can only lock both from inside

I step out and don’t get wet

the cold hard ground feels warm

a composition for wind band

an unincorporated community in Ohio

a specific magic

a lost silent film

you touch one of my shoulders

an action card on my arm

you have a good car

when your hair naturally suits your mood

I lose my shit carefully

I mean



now I know what coffee tastes like

how do I go back?

see: my desires are simple

it’s everyone else including us complicating everything

here I thought I wasn’t getting all deep swept up in it

heart swelling first thing in the morning

thinking it’s impossible to fall

an impossible fall

whoa here’s a thought

that joy is possible for me

I want to go back where the red lights and the cheap bar wood sparkle

I liked the way you looked at me

like my choices cut you up somehow

in a good way

I’ve never done that to someone before

I’ve never seen the way your eyes elongate

you cut me up inside

in a good way

like the hair I miss on my head

that is now on the floor of the barbershop across the street from your old house

you make me want to change how I spend time

see you soon at the zoo

I will be reading a manual on masturbation

find me in the light

thinking of you

forgetting myself

I have only stepped away for a moment while we continue to burn

and knowing that means

knowing at least there we are

Stacey Tran

Today I walked into a puddle and was still completely happy.

Photograph by Christie MacLean


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