If this letter is in your hands right now, I’m either dead, or far away from Earth—two places full of peace and eternal rest. I miss you, and it took me a long time to admit that to myself, but I really do miss you. I miss the way you look at me, especially, when the sky is vast and blue, the same hue as the sea on a spring day, when the birds fly west and the boats chug up and down the coastline, searching for a dock to anchor at, for love from a woman’s heart, or a man’s warm caress. I wish I can touch you right now, the spot on your ankle that’s black and gray, from being beaten by a switch. We used to be close, you and I, did things in secret, and in public, so sacred not even the angels can pour holy communion on it. I remember riding the red Ferris wheel in the summertime, as the wind rocked us from one side to the other. The light in your eyes was bright and shining, like two lonely streetlamps lined up against each other, caught in a wind-tunnel, defenseless against the blackness of the night. I can’t help it, anytime, I think of you, I think of poetry, whether it be great, or horrendous, I think of poetry. Remember that day when I fell off the high bluff and into the roaring ocean, the waves swallowing me up like lips enveloping over a breath-mint, and my hand shot out the cold water, the crest curling over my fingers, but it was too late, I couldn’t be saved. You need to hear this, right now. Read it with your own eyes, before it’s tainted. The day I fell into the ocean, I was not trying to take my life, but rather, I was trying to save you from me. I told you for years that I couldn’t swim, which was an outright lie, because I swam, moving my arms and kicking my legs to and fro, that day to an underground cave, right under the rocky bluff, and I found shelter and warmth in one of their hidden natural hot springs. There I slipped into the hot water, nearly fainting, as I recovered my body temperature.
I wrote this poem for you, before I fell off the cliff.
Please read it.
Follow the map, it will lead you back to me.
“An Island filled with Ghosts”
Jesus wore sandals, you wear sandals.
The heat from the flames seared from out the window of the black Buick.
Emails from job recruiters are trying to make you work for them. Work for the man. Don’t use your brain. Be my slave. You do not exist. You exist for me.
Washington D.C. has a neighborhood; and walking deeper and deeper into its trap will lead to the retelling of the Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
My GPS is my angel, pointing me in the right direction. A cliché, yes, but how very true.
The Washington Post stand is blocking the entrance to the corner store like a trusted guide.
There’s a lock on the box that holds the newspapers. I’m a woman.
Whites, black, Hispanics, Asians; they, all give me weird looks.
Emotions course through the stem.
Sleep awaits, but NaS said, “sleep is the cousin of death.”
There is this beauty-skin book sitting on the balustrade of a light green row-house, propped against a neat, white fence that holds in the pink magnolias. Rain drops on the book.
Pattering along the cover, the raindrops, slipping, now running down the cracked brick, seeping into a cigarette butt. This is the neighborhood. The book is hope.
Allah, God, Buddha
The can from the soda company is in the grass, in the D.C. Neighborhood. Who put it there? It is raining, cleaning my body.
The rain is pouring and I feel like I’ve found my calling.
It is to form the language.
And as that epiphany smacks me in the face, my left side of my brain starts hurting.
What does this mean?
Am I truly waking up from the dream?
I understand. You’re listening to me.
The raindrops fell on my glasses and I felt my vision was changing. The cloudiness disappeared from the lenses. Cay’s pain-stricken face turned into a smile, full of happiness, full of friendship. He’s a good friend. I’m the bad one.
I want to be good.
I want to be good.
For the better, for real.
When it was raining,
The light bulb popped up outside.
And I finally had the light bulb speak to me for the first time.
I knew I was a bad person and now I needed to change into a good person.
The car stops moving forward,
I turn the engine off,
And go back to the beginning.
Andy Tran is a young professional working and living in the Washington DC metro area. His work has been featured in The Virginia. Normal, Defenestration Magazine, and Calliope, and currently at Queens Mob Teahouse. He's a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, and he has a degree in English.