By Hiếu Minh Nguyễn

Convinced she’s in hell

my mother wakes me & begs to be taken

to the lake. Wailing in prayer on the kitchen floor

her skin itching with heat, a flame seizing for god.

I believe her. One day, we will all know when suffering comes

to play the instrument of our bodies. Her song, a single note

a copper kettle whistling for mercy. From the blue-black sand

of McCarrons, I watch her disappear

under the night water. Moonlit rings

spill from her absence.