Somewhere in the dark sky is a beautiful fight,
one-two, cha cha chá—all our knuckles rapping
against the stars’ edges for the dancing master,
for a flying sidekick to our bodies’ centers.
My father called you Little Dragon Lee, told me
how you swiveled your hips across the floor—
three-four, cha cha chá—then you both wrote
love poems for a girl in your English class.
I practiced throwing roundhouse kicks as a boy,
feet aimed at my reflection in store windows,
at street signs, at parked cars, everything I knew
I could break. Now, my feet cannot leave
the ground, and I write love poems for the dead.
The last time I watched Enter the Dragon,
I imagined it was my father emerging victorious
from the hall of mirrors, my father hustling
on the dance floor, because the last time
I saw my father, he had been waiting for me
the whole day in the morgue. Hold me,
he said, and I did until his body stopped
acting like it was alive. There is no fight
where there is no spark, no wretched cock crow
in the dark, just this cha cha chá—grief is a fist
and a promise to hurt someone. Just give it
an inch between knuckle and breastbone.
It will punch through everyone.
Childhood & Coming of Age
Death & Loss
two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit
a meditation on death, often in thoughtful mourning lamentation
A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.
a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic