Featured Poem: Trojan

By Ocean Vuong

A FINGER’S WORTH of dark from daybreak, he steps
into his mother’s red dress. A flame caught
in a mirror the width of a coffin. Glint of steel
in the back of his throat. A flash, a white
asterisk. Look
how he dances. The sky-blue

wallpaper peeling into hooks as he twirls, his horse-
head shadow thrown wildly on the family
portraits, glass cracking beneath
its stain. He moves like any other
fracture, revealing the briefest doors. The dress
petaling off him like the skin
of a shredded apple. Outside, branches thrash into black applause
as if darkness isn’t sharpening
inside him. This horse with its human face.
This belly full of blades.
As if dancing could stop the heart
of his murderer from beating between
his ribs.
How easily a boy
in a dress the red of shut eyes
vanishes
beneath the sound of his own
galloping. How a horse will run until it breaks
into weather—into wind. How like
the wind, they will see him. They will see him
clearest
when the city burns.

 

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