tae min suh

for p

On the eve of Phoenix’ 23rd birthday, we sing,
all the furniture pushed up against the
balloon-adorned walls of their living room,
the New York kind, compact, quaint
broker might say when he is trying to sell
this fantasy. 
Forget the cockroaches, the skyrocketing rent,
crumbling infrastructure of a city committed to
above its people. Can you imagine it?
A little Monstera 
over there in the corner. A hanging
pothos right above our 
heads, devil’s ivy they call it.
I’ve always wanted to move to New York,
my father confesses again over the phone. I 
find more empathy for the man, and call home 
often, but tonight I am too engrossed with the
overhead lights, dimmed purples and blues and reds,
pious Joel is in his performance of Nicki,
hands laced over 
the salt-shaker mic, kneeling
on uncarpeted floors in a 
different prayer, eyes
shut, throat wide open towards the 
This is a whole-body ordeal, you see. Being
in your 
body. Imagine this whole-bodied-ness is not
a prayer I 
make daily. Imagine not everyone
is trying to sell 
something. Imagine the city
and its people. Cockroaches, 
the lot of us,
on our knees, singing. Our throats wide open.