Peauladd Huy was born in Phnom Penh. Her latest work, published by Connotation Press: An Online Artifact was nominated for the Sundress "Best of the Net," the Dzanc "Best of the Net," and the Pushcart Prize. And with deep gratitude to Connotation Press she’ll have a book, forthcoming soon.
The earth opens. The earth closes
Its double doors like a tomb
Preservation; its past
Companions. Dark from the foothill, running
Along the scrub weeds to the fruit woods turning
After the wooden houses, practically
The whole cluster thrown back the vanishing
In rapid bloom, more ruined than blooming
Than the coloring, the way the bright petals
Feathering off, the way the Argus once flocking
Off those couldn’t be salvaged, I hear the loosening
Light in the canopy, the great fig
From deep shadow, the ancients moaning
The descending, and the losses’
Asylum thrown in fleeing splendor--
I was young. I’d asked for flight—more than once
I have stood in their threshold
Reaching in, calculating with conviction
The randomnesses of my two hands to the multitude
Colors still in light, still not yet assimilated
Into the earth
Mounds, each bloom--
Autumn. The New Jersey tropical’s almost bare
Inside the frosted glass, but for a few lilies
Then outside the season’s arc, I watch the falling pattern
Themselves at the perpetualness of a sufferance, the winded; its history
Of travel at one arrival of an ending, ground.
Grounded, like detritus gives the forest floor
This morning, alone, I watch a young boy raise his hands to the fallen
In driftage, turning over to the rest, scattering the ground
As if giving a way home.
Is it the moon you hear swimming
Slowly in me? A river’s flooded; isn’t it
Drowning? Sinking like a stone
Skipped to plummet
Beneath the waves
Over the ragged body sinks.
Sink. I know where the bottom is.
It is dark, thick and taken
The many hands below surface
(Skimming) as if blind
I am searching for vision; feeling out the fog
So thick no tree can rise.
For the Rest of the Children: Cry if You Must
No one will hear in this dark.
It’s thus as I now stand, however
Then I dropped quickly to my knees.
I cried for mercy.
I cried for my mother and father.
I cried for justice
That had denied me, and still
I couldn’t help but hoped
For them. At the time, not much I wanted
And not much I knew of war,
Words about war, about America, about freedom
To bomb, about the Vietcong, about the Khmer Rouge
And their purpose to slaughter because my immediate elders had been scattered
Detained, or sent so far into the rice fields.
There was no way to know then
Life had given me death
After death until the rest are now
Captives in my dream of dream.
There are so many.
To count a million is hard
Yet two, for a second grader.
It’s getting crowded.
It’s getting hot with all the angel faces
Burning before me. Naturally, I was scared,
Didn’t know what to do, and couldn’t
Find proper words because
So many were put in my mouth.
I went quiet I went still I went numb
I went dumb
Until my baby cried.
I wake up and it’s still dark:
Everything is the same, pale curtains
Breathing calmly, the door is open—as it must
After the war, so as no one is left out or in--
But no one follows through.
Don’t be sad.
My purpose is not here.
Though, the first few times, I didn’t know what to feel
Or what to do with all their breaths floating me.
It’s quiet outside
Again something I am drawn to.
There’s just nothing
I can do: I must go wherever
They blow on me.
So back to the fog,
To the millions lost
Still searching throats.