a poem inspired by Ocean Vuong’s, Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong
Thi, don’t be afraid. Just breathe in. Breathe out. Be still. Listen. It’s most calm at night between the deep hum of a low flying airplane and the steady soft snores of your next door neighbor. As the four walls of your tiny studio reverberates Time’s breath, you notice how transient life really is with every exhale. It’s not cold in 80 degree LA weather, but you wish to see your breath, as if it’s the only indicator of a life worth continuing. A 5 year old kid leans his soft hair and warm head against your hand as he struggles with personal space and sharing. An old couple walks ahead of you as fast as they can but they wobble. And you wonder where you fit. To fit in the crook of your father’s arm as a toddler on that discolored white carpeted couch or to kiss your mom good night on a cheek full of dark brown freckles from years of Sai Gon’s hot sun, you notice now that both parents have wrinkles abound as Time surrounds and suffocates all. With no discernment. Hands clasp praying for some reprieve. Not. More like clumsy hands trying to grab Time down for control. No. To hold on, to wait for you as you hope to make some kind of impact to Time. To beg. Yes. Maybe to impress, maybe to stand out, so that instead of Time suppressing you down, Thi, you rise and live on beyond it into legacy. And then you look into the mirror, and you see a ghost in the roots of your hair, as it turned white over night.