Rituals of the Damned

Photo by Jakub Novacek.

I know I should call but I don’t want to
talk about Dad or how I lost another
earring or how I feel like a bird the sky
dropped. Instead, I wander through the empty
apartment until evening grays the walls.
I chop lemongrass by the open window
and imagine you can smell it. Weekends I lie
on the old couch and drink wine from a carton.
Remember when we used to go to the Popeyes
in Arlington after the cemetery and split a family
combo? You would rest a wing beside Dad’s urn
and say I hope you’re hungry, mình ơi. I don’t even know
what your favorite food is, or what I’m more afraid of:
that I will outlive you, or that you will outlive me.
You ask me about heaven like you’re asking for directions.
Is it up in the sky? Is that where your father is?
What makes you think I know anything
about heaven? You ask if I miss you. I tell you
I do, which isn’t true. The truth is, I never
slept a deeper sleep than next to you
under a Virginia sky fanged with stars.

Theo LeGro is a Vietnamese-American poet who has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and fellowships from Kundiman. Their work appears or will appear in diode, Frontier, Raleigh Review, SARKA, and other journals. They live in Brooklyn with a cat named Vinny.


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