Pittsburgh Poets

Trish Le: Three Poems

Pool is a Heteropalindrome

Once upon a summer,
a daughter and you
swim side by side in sanctimonious blue.
Body of water or body of son
begs for your daughter or daughter of none.
Deprived memory misses the made-up,
sick of someone else’s mistakes,
the same mistakes it makes
again. A panoramic pattern
stored in stories,
buried, then beginning
when objective observers
with their American appetites
dig up someone else’s dead
and call it artifact. Then
cast us as characters
in confession history.
I undo what you do next.
In boiling water, metal takes
its body back, become objecting
objects. Parentless debris—
a wire mother and me—
and of course, you chose wrong,
hungry but holding on.
Symbiotic siblings
with savior complexes
and hard shapes
the water could not soften.
I’m sorry I couldn’t hold you back.
I’m sorry we’re self-destructing.
A serpent
A tail
You know the tale.
When everything ends
and everything eats,
What is our crime but reinvention?


Measuring the Circumference of Us

In 2006, Pluto ceased to be a planet
Can it unname itself in a naming history?
Can you kill the god of the dead?
Can deities disappear?

In 2006, you were born
An autumn song you sing alone,
Our Orpheus in October and you made the gods weep
When Eurydice died, everyone wanted to write the rage of romantic love
But the Romans did not believe in the architecture of aloneness

Pluto promised a return
But you wanted religion
So you turn
So you can be alone but not abandoned
So the eldest self erases and keeps their death
So you can live
So I said live your life (but live it with me)
So I said turn around

A circle is a sound if it saves you


Cải Lương

the way a trapped animal
still sings its native song

a deep-sea diver
half dead half
open, eaten alive

heavy metal ribcage feel
dressed more red than real rot

the weight of decay
expands with nostalgia
for a seabed sleep

decompose into soft tissue

even as the familiar drowns
everything rises

the surface sentiment before
the body hits sediment
is an invitation to

a carcass that cares
to be touched

What are you looking for?