Poetry at Sangam

SangamHouse

 










WHAT HAPPENED by Alvin Pang

At some point somebody said something about someone
who said something back, it was said. It was sad.
It was vehement. It was egregious. It was somehow
necessary. Accessory. The sky failed to break into rain.
A puddle vanished without comment. Committment
to a choice on a menu also known as loyalty was exercised.
Exorcised: the old ghost of wanting to mean not to bemean
but to able to say. Shine takes the place of luminescence.
That is to say what happened is not about what happened
but that it happened. Is evasion invasion? Is erasure seizure?
There is a pleasure in the telling quite apart from the tale.
What makes sense may not make cents but here, try this:
Today one breath appeared after another not knowing
where they will end up, when they will end. Up in Sweden
my friends live on an island. My father casts an anchor
at the sea hoping to catching history, the sort that sticks
to the skull like seaweed on the white chalk of Oaxen.
This life, he says, something always eats at us. Time, chemistry,
the pale blow of our pipe-smoking grandpas. A seal breaks
the water. Crayfish on our fingers, we point at mist at dawn,
coating the tongue. It is a kind of paste: my father, a good cook,
feeds it to me with chopsticks, then a pink straw. It doesn’t taste
like I remember, drunk on a kind of knowing that proves
sour and not quite done. Don’t leave a drop, Grandpa said.
If you can thirst you can mourn. He glows in the dark of the sea.
Father throws a net at the glimmers. Never did ask for leave
to stand still nor grumble at the waves. He chases the fisher now
not the fish. He says he spoke in tongues, was slain, his back
healed, is now spoken for. We who come from earth must leave
through air. I take the silence he taught me and swim in it.