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By Mai Der Vang

For Pos Moua

What is the name for an antelope

          who grazes inside a dream


then vanishes into the

                          nebula’s brush.


                   What is the face

for refurbishing grammar


              at each comma’s lip.

                   Whose identity never


remembers the shape of beige.

   What is the word


                          for how to conjure

             the sigh of a line hushed


     beneath the flap of a thousand

shifting plumes.


What is the body of a

             garden where a crescent


                    despairs, drifts beneath

   the melt of amber.


The season is always growing

out its hooves.


                          One cradlesong

           of your leaving is not larger


    than the forest of your arrival.

To make you a noun forever.


                A loss of you

cannot be equal to the loss of you.


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

Source: Poetry (July 2017)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Love
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Mai Der Vang
Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland, which recounts the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees seeking asylum. The book received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is currently a visiting writer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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