New poetry by Souvankham Thammavongsa.
I remember the evening we saw
this movie. I was eleven. My parents
had just bought a van. They wanted to go
to the drive-in, so we waited for it
to get dark outside. We brought along
pillows and a blanket, hot chocolate. I fell
asleep in the back seat. I may
have woken up a few times—
I remember this scene of them dancing
in a bar. I remember my parents laughing
at how these two could be twins. One giant
and the other short and out of shape. That
these two could come from the same place
at the same time and manage all
those years apart. When I think about it,
my parents were like that too, even if
they wouldn’t have seen it like that then. I
wish I hadn’t fallen asleep that day.
I wish I had stayed awake, remembered all
the times they laughed so hard like that together.
There were so many of them. We always
had an abacus around. Maybe if I had learned
how to use one, I could shift a few beads
and tell you how much a lifetime costs.