DetoNation

By Ocean Vuong Ocean Vuong
There’s a joke that ends with — huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.

Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter

the earth is — afterward.
To even write the word father

is to carve a portion of the day
out of a bomb-bright page.

There’s enough light to drown in
but never enough to enter the bones

& stay. Don’t stay here, he said, my boy
broken by the names of flowers. Don’t cry

anymore. So I ran into the night.
The night: my shadow growing

toward my father.

Source: Poetry (February 2014).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2014
 Ocean  Vuong

Biography

Born in Saigon, poet and editor Ocean Vuong was raised in Hartford, Connecticut, and earned a BFA at Brooklyn College (CUNY). In his poems, he often explores transformation, desire, and violent loss. In a 2013 interview with Edward J. Rathke, Vuong discussed the relationship between form and content in his work, noting that “Besides being a vehicle for the poem’s movement, I see form as … an extension of the poem’s content, a . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Ocean Vuong

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Youth, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.