To Tear an Arm | Mai Ly Hagan

1 min read

It does not matter if you’re rich in life, 
As long as you’re rich in heaven. 

My father, in heaven, smokes Camels. 
In the spirit months we feast together.
Mother plates chicken cutlet, fish soup, 
Sticky rice, and wine upon the altar. 
You indulge in our gluttonous delicacies, 
We feast on smoke; 
burning incense, candles, and paper dollars.
Hoping the flame will call you home.  

In clandestine light, I tear images
Of cars and watches and movies. 
I burn the records you love: In Utero, 
Jeff Buckley, and all records Syd Barrett. 
I hope they have vinyl in heaven. 

If I could, I would burn myself. 
Tear my limbs and lips into curled pieces and set myself ablaze.
Then I’d burn a wooden table and two chairs
and a dining room for us to feast 
and a bottle of wine for us to share 
and Camels, of course, for us to smoke. 

It does not matter if you’re rich in life, 
as long as you’re rich in heaven. 

Mai Ly Hagan (she/her) is a seventeen-year-old from Hanoi, Vietnam, born to an American dad and Vietnamese mother. She enjoys literature of various styles and languages. When not writing, she can be found drawing, cooking, or playing The Sims.