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  • They Think Our Killed Ones Cannot Speak to Us
  • Mai Der Vang (bio)

As if to adjourn alloxygen from the neck

is how they try to takethe voice    As if attempts

to render us pale, rippedlungless from woke into

wild ash    As if ashescannot blink howl testify

with the pulse of their owntatters    As if hymn and

whistle, hail and pourWe've seen how they

shame the light, strippedhollow, tearing out

filigrees of stars fromprotocols of dust to make

drink a bouquet of venomsprayed down a constellation's [End Page 246]

throat    They must be soearless, as if we've no legs

to kneel    We are eachother's memory of the

future forty years fromhere    arriving at ourselves

by way of the deadHistory will not beget

powder will not begetmyth will not make us

into marginalia    As everpossessed by what we

have lost    There are nolanguage barriers in the

afterlife    A toxin is a toxinis a toxin is the manmade

truth is the dead wholeave everything behind [End Page 247]

Mai Der Vang

Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland, winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, her poetry has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, and the American Poetry Review, among other journals and anthologies.



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pp. 246-247
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