– Ocean Vuong. excerpt from On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous



He did not have a wink of sleep for forty nights
Carrying his dreams on camels
He wandered through wastes of nights
Burnt himself on pyres of moonlight
His denture resting in a cup
Often grinned
The jasmine bud again raised its head
From behind his dark glasses
Gloom merrily sprang from the eyes
The rapidly moving shadows
Of green waters
Gradually crept into the flesh
The hand of the spirit turned into a sieve
A pointed needle
Put out
Lamps of carnal longing
In the mortal frame
Underneath the shade of ten stars
Stuck on the surface of the ceiling
Images got blurred
Images withered away

– Adil Mansuri. On My Father’s Death

translated by Balraj Komal


The man with the black feather tattoo pares this space
Between fantasy and the memory of a man’s carved
Torso, designed for stroking and celebration.

Today the sun’s brightness is like that lover’s kiss,
Wonderful in the present and greater in memory.

A memory that brings me back to that black feather’s
Flutter. Stars dazzle in some other part of this world
Where the sun has set and the moon illuminates
Swans diving into voluminous waters.

– Patricia Spears Jones. Dancer