A Lesson, 1990

Cathy Linh Che


Somebody breaches the shore. Somebody sings Hallelujah, swallowing tide. The wind rises and bares its teeth. Somebody is gathering, gathering. A mother watches her child burn on a pyre. Flames rise up like hands. Somebody whispers smoke in the cellar. Somebody smiles, decomposing. I opened my mouth to inspect my teeth. I slept carefully by your side. You wouldn't wake until I called you. You were dreaming of bombs again. You shook, slumbering, unfolding. Sweat broke into the room. On the tv, gunfire. On the dresser, a gun.