Stacey Tran - Five Poems

Selected Questions, Reflections, and Instructions Regarding Mortality

Will you still love
me: Learning
to love yourself

It is the greatest love
of all

Misdirected kiss

Everything #5.2

Other things seen // other things heard

How can you stay
in the house all
day and not go

When Species Meet Part 1 (shine
or go crazy)

Wikipedia Badlands

Canvas is to

as calligraphy is
to shorthand

Treatise is
to rhapsody

an altar of
nonrhythmic like-

ness; Clinique
green doesn’t

age, matcha
over ice and

stracciatella says
I’m faking it

Do not put
the letters
in your mouth

A series
of switchbacks

Points to photo:
a sheet of dry
rice paper + permanent

marker writing — asked

What’d you call this?

I thought
“canvas” at first, but doesn’t
that mean blank?


Eating the lineup of
words we overcome/cycle through
the alphabet

Someone’s hair touches my hair

I walk out of a family emergency barefoot

Survival scripts/ancient
fears we pause to acknowledge

Perhaps after death
with no body
we are only nourished by scent

heart muscle
question marks
burned as fuel

Soft and alive
milky tooth gap
 left open for any death

Scoop coleslaw
out of my bag
 at the movies

Two young girls
prevent plants
from catching fire

Covered up that death

Two uncles I’ve never met

Animal faces are difficult to forget

the doctor hole punched
  my armpit

I asked the dying
what kind of dying could be had

Her blond hair will be buried with her

A moth refused to land
on my mouth

I walked out onto the beach naked
threw a stone in the water

The table needs a vase of flowers
somewhere in the middle

I, too,
am alive in an identified jar

Unlearning What to Expect in the Center of a Nectarine

Longing for a vocabulary
of lost archives
I dig through my mother’s idioms

What you eat
you return to the mouth

What’s difficult
is wise

me with your
chili salt speckled wings


In the frozen food aisle
a boy stares
 deep into my shopping cart

Might as well
have been my family tree
that made this metronome
 beside my bed

The stone inside a sweet dessert

Whole and
cut open


Swim inside
a marshmallow
exfoliated by kisses

Bad luck loops
in the big spoon
of dollar signs
in the wings of free shipping

Leave the car at home
I will
pout with the fish
to avoid writing
just to write

To arrive at the thread-
bare tee
a locked nest bitter melon
stuffed with flowers

Anxiety scrapes edge of safety

I’ve become
fake chamomile
big red wine vinegar
baby thoughts
committal mimicry

Break up the obvious

by cooking shows

Tongue glued
to cocoa pod a mountain
of candy
also relaxes

Opalite magnifying
glass against
my forehead

You read it back to me
asking for nothing
in return