Gamecocks have barked and crowed us both awake
while sunrise throbs through clouds like a cold sore.
Mist gathers in the park where once the war
raged. No one now dares break the spell of daybreak.
Trees comb mist from the sky. From our ninth floor
apartment, I admire the foggy lake,
like green seaglass, then realize my mistake:
it’s Saigon smog. Beyond the metaphor,
the view of fields and farms stretching to Saigon
is nothing if not serene this lonely hour.
Light probes the bedroom, piles of laundry, toys in
packages still. I need to shave and shower.
Instead I lift you to the blood orange dawn,
baptizing you in beauty frothed with poison.
Richard Newman is the author of three books of poetry, most recently All the Wasted Beauty of the World, and the novel Graveyard of the Gods. He currently teaches at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, where he lives with his wife and son. Before moving to The Maghreb, he and his family lived in Vietnam, Japan, and the Marshall Islands.
Also by Richard Newman (see all)
- Your Mother Still Sleeping, I Hold You Up to the Dawn - October 30, 2021