for 2am

You Guys

brushing my teeth at 2
                in the morning I say
over my shoulder
                you guys you guys I’m serious
what are we going to make
                of this mess my voice
muffled with wintergreen foam what
                are we going to do now
that it hurts when I look
                at those I love like
you two you
                who have been through
so much together the thick & thin the skin
                of it I’m proud of you both
I say as the foam pinkens
                through my lips I’m told
our blood is green but touches the world
                with endings my name a place
where I’ve waited for
                collisions you guys are
you listening I’m sorry
                for being useful only
in language are you still
                with me I ask as I peer into the tub
where I placed them gently down
                the two white rabbits
I had found on harris st the way back
                from Emily’s where we watched American Dad!
on her mom’s birthday her mom
                who would have been 56
this year we ate rocky road
                in bowls with blue tulips
I’m too tired she said
                to be this happy
& we laughed without
                moving our hands perhaps
the rabbits are lovers or sisters sometimes
                it’s hard to tell sex
from breathing
                earlier I had scooped them
from the pavement
                they were crushed but only
kinda one
                had a dented half-face
the other’s back flattened like
                a courage sock
I cradled them wetly
                in my sweatshirt but now
the tub is a red world save for the silent
                island of fur flickering
in my fugitive words guys
                just wait for me alright
just wait a while longer you guys
                I swear I’ll take us home I’ll
leave this place
                spotless when I’m done I say
reaching back
                to my wisdom teeth forgetting
it’s been 4 years
                since they were gone

OCEAN VUONG

Published in Granta, 3rd August 2017.

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