The Only Story


Twenty years, now, and I’ve been telling

my only story. June, Taipei’s skyline

choked at the brink of dawn, lovely

enough to calm the throttle of

my heart. A crash in the bedroom,

Springsteen stopped mid-croon, my mother

shouting Call 911, my hands dangling

like ornaments. July, what Mia said

the first time she made me cry: it’s not

your fault , how my heart twitched

but did not thaw. This I know: to be loved

by her is to have a shadow even

on sunless days. This I know: her words

can burn. And yet she’s always here

for me. All the rest keep moving, in

and out of focus, impossible to pin down

and always out of reach. Twenty years,

now, and I’ve been telling

my only story. How I turned my eyes

from the wreck of living, from

the stretcher on which the body left,

my hands dangling like ornaments

Springsteen stopped mid-croon, and Mia,

Mia, Mia who flays me with her

boundless rage, Mia’s lips gentled

against my brow, you know it’s not your fault.

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