There is no other option but run.
The bullies are after him again.
Inside the library the AC makes
his chest hurt.
Soon, he forgets about the chill
and takes refuge in a book.
The poet’s name sounds familiar,
like the name of that uncle
Killed by the Khmer Rouge.
Or a name that was once his,
But it got lost in the shuffle
of paperwork and refugee shame.
Pages flap. His entire life flies out.
He stops at a poem that speaks
Of his wounds, and weeps.
Outside, the sun continues to climb.
The bullies are gone now.
Their imaginations are black birds
Dropping from the sky.
At the end, there is only him and poetry.
The poet is gone. The library disappears.
A key appears in the poem just for him.
Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of Gruel, And So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It(Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (Yes Poetry). His prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Lowell Review, Massachusetts Review, The American Journal of Poetry, carte blanche, Diode Poetry Journal, Paterson Literary Review, The Mekong Review, Consequence, among others. He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.