December dragged its slow funeral into the father’s
blue-blur hands. Car swerved past wind-torn highways,
through the family’s tunnels of hearts. The grandfather
pressed his head against car’s window. Anesthesia, early doses.
Splintered radio static. Billboards of safe sex with condoms
and toxic relationship breakdown. The grandfather kept
breathing. Around them, treetops all worn bare with
winter’s new grief-coat. Fake-leather seats stank of all–boys,
over-rented apartments. This family was real despite everything
else. The mother clenched the son’s palms, his eyes towards
the paper sky where geese were writing letters. In the rearview
mirror, the father looked at the grandfather slouching in
the backseat. His unworded eyes, something like the shade of
the son’s imagined first snow. Its too-soon act of melting.
Duy Quang Mai is from Hanoi, Vietnam and is currently studying in Sydney, Australia. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming from The American Poetry Review, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Cordite and others. He is the author of the chapbook Journals to (Story Factory, 2019).