Submissions Flash Fiction Stories Novel Excerpts Poetry Stretching Forms Creative Non-Fiction Reviews Interviews Staff Links Word Riot Press

    3:AM Magazine
    Better Non Sequitur
    Brian Ames
    David Barringer
    Future Tense Publishing
    Jackie Corley
    Scott Bateman
    So New Publishing
...more links

Advertise with us
Three Poems
by Ocean Vuong


In the summer, it is easy to have
the urge to catch a butterfly.

They flutter about making
acquaintances with all the strangers

while offering ripened melons
to sweeten the tongue's cracks.

But to see that fairy so frail in its flight
to believe those wings

could beat a heart to death
creeps chills as icy fruit

slips between my lips
like a smooth whisper.

Upon tasting its nectar
so cool, so satisfying

alone, the silence of a dark car
beckons the comfort of sound.

I whisper - what ifs- to an empty seat
while clutching the wheel for Fall.

That summer I caught a butterfly
and devoured bowls of melons

but out of all those lies
"I love you" was most delicious.


Splashes echo through porcelain.
A plastic soldier treads
over bubbled water.

He is alone, deserted
by the smiles of rubber ducks.
Kneeling by the edge
he searches the pool for signals.

In the kitchen, shouting shakes
the pillars behind porous walls.
Shriveled fingers seize the warrior
soaking in all six inches of courage.

He dives, swallowed by concentric circles.
Under the weight of this muted sea, one
can hear the whispers as sharp as a whale's cry

-Don't worry mom, I'm gonna save you.-


The last mark of fallen heroes
is a sinking sun.

Though she is not a butterfly
a moth can be-so beautiful.
When dusk surrenders to night
the cereus and angel's trumpets
will call her name with guarded whispers..
She will fill their cups, obedient
as a falling leaf to the sound of wind.
With wings so frail, held in place
by a thousand hands of dust
invisibility is an instinct
birthed before the breath.
Slipping behind the curtains
she kisses the bark and fades
her spine dissolving
on the moon's lips.

As dawn rises, butterflies rush
to flirt with roses.
The sun expands its stage.
How easy it is
in the dance of light
to forget the darkness
of closed eyes.

About the author:
Born in 1988 in Saigon Vietnam, he currently resides in NYC as a Creative Writing student at Brooklyn College. His work has been published in numerous literary journals including,
North Central Review, the Barnwood Press Review, the Connecticut River Review, Convergence, Ganymede, Blueprint Review, GHOTI, Poetalk, and Raving Dove Review among others. He is also a writer/editor for the Vietnam Literature project in the aspiration to promote and support the works of Vietnamese authors. He is currently completing a manuscript for his first chapbook titled, "Arrival by Fire."

© 2013 Word Riot

Advertise with us

Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca


The Suburban Swindle

More about The Suburban Swindle