Nicholas YB Wong

In Issue 6 on April 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm

By the Coast

It begins and ends with ash, though we insist

on ignoring the shared fires in our past.”

Sherman Alexie

Ash accentuates existence. Your body
Can now be carried in a marble
Urn, a portable luggage.

I ask where you want to go next,
And you say to the coast,
Where on the far end, a young man

Is chasing its golden, which always
Runs forward. Life is a series of chases,
An undying moral of every story you

Used to tell. But later on, the black
Cancer cells ate up your lungs, then
Your larynx. Your voice went coarse,

Doctors drilled a hole on your throat.
That was the end of all stories
And your own.

I climb onto a rock and light your
Favorite menthol Camel, and you,
Silently, wait for your swim.

That dog is exhausted. It rests
On the sand, gasping. Life finally
Slows down for both of us.

I open the lid, sprinkle a handful
Of your eyes, lips and hands
In the north-blowing wind. It will

Return you to the sea of ears, where
Stories are oxygen. Oxygen that
Burns your body and cigarette into ash.


Nicholas YB Wong is the author of Cities of Sameness (Desperanto, forthcoming) and the winner of several awards, including the Sentinel Quarterly Poetry Competition, nominations for the Best of the Net and Web Anthologies in 2010. He is currently a poetry editor for THIS Literary Magazine and a poetry reader for Drunken Boat.

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