“My Arms”

A Poem by Vi Khi Nao

April 8, 2022  By Vi Khi Nao

Words are sleepwalking
Around my mind
I tell them to go to sleep
So I can go to sleep
I pull words by the sleeves
Beg them to come to bed with me
They refuse to
Continue to somnambulate
Not like an ambulance
In a hurry to get to the hospital
After the gunman wounded
Nearly 500 folks and killed 58 people
No, they walk like
Jaywalkers, not heeding stop signs
Made by the signals
Of my frustrations
I gather the words into my arms
Ask each one to fall asleep
Like senescent babies
I would croak them into telling me
Their relationship to insomnia
Which they don’t know exists
What kind of synthetic vitamins
Will they take?
Before they lose their bodies
To my memory?

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Fish Carcass

Excerpted from Fish Carcass by Vi Khi Nao, available via Black Sun Lit.

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Vi Khi Nao
Vi Khi Nao
Vi Khi Nao's work includes poetry, fiction, film, play, and cross-genre collaboration. She is the author of the novels Swimming With Dead Stars (FC2, 2022) and Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016), the story collections The Vegas Dilemma (11:11 Press, 2021) and A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), and five poetry collections: A Bell Curve Is A Pregnant Straight Line (11:11 Press, 2021), Human Tetris (11:11 Press, 2019), Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (1913 Press, 2017), and The Old Philosopher (winner of the 2014 Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry). She was the Fall 2019 Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute.

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