Emigrating, my father
imagined falling into the Pacific.
How long will the waters hold me;
how long before my bones become rain?
he must have asked.

Father, these were the wrong questions.
Instead: what will feed on my flesh?
What might live by the fall –
everything that swims beneath us.

Picture the fuselage
a wheat stalk for the starving seas
and your thin body: salvation for a world, unseen.


A boy who looked like me once asked
why I wrote so many race poems.
I lied and said,
“I don’t.”
Truth is, I feel the ocean everywhere,
even though I grew up in Arkansas.
The slow life,
undulating beneath the surface.

Marine biologists call this place the hadal zone,
as though a place the arrogant sun cannot touch
must only be a myth.

Sometimes, I fantasize
of the anglerfish:
unapologetically ugly,
blasé to the existence of whole
continents & solar systems,
in love with nothing but its own small light,
ever dangling ahead.

See: father.
Even in the abyss, something burns.

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