“In the Tidal Pool,” “Weathering,” and “A Vespa Ride”

Photo by Lesly Derksen on Unsplash

In the Tidal Pool

First at sunrise,

Then at sunset

You ebb away

leaving me suspended.

My kaleidoscopic charms

laid bare at the altar

of jumbled cowries,

flowers of the sea,

wallpapered sunset stars

strawberry clustered anemones

Secret lives linger

in hidey holes

and dark places

Beautiful appendages sway and lift

snagging and stinging their prey.

Thin purple thorny limbs

encircle a velvet orange urchin.

A little yellow Periwinkle,

a Cushion Star,

a Velvet Swimming Crab

with red eyes and bright blue bits on its claw

all watch on soundlessly.

In this dreamy illustration

inked underwater

I see myself

flickering with

a mirror of the sky

Until bubbles pierces the pane.

between water and air.


In death, you are the gravestone

in this layer you are named

in this layer you are a mother

in this layer you are a wife

in this layer you are a daughter

in this layer you are born

in this layer you died

in this layer you

            “walk through darkness to the light”

Chiseled words unmoving but not unchanging

Striations flaking away to dust

Weathering dissolution

years of inaction in action

In life, you are a rock

confined to a smaller world

never able to walk away

your desires

your dreams

your hopes

come and go

Flaking away to dust

Weathering disillusion

years of inaction in action

A Vespa Ride

We lean into curves,

breathe in the same air,

exist in myriad light.

Gliding gently on asphalt,

clouds of sun and shadow

roll across my face.

My body is a shiver

that shimmers down my bones

I am filled with desire

to let go

to fling arms

to cry out

in wonder

free of fear.

Wheels revolve

over and over

no beginning

middle or end.

About the Author

Oanh Nguyen

Oanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1975. She is currently a part-time online student at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on Creative Writing. She currently lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her daughters and other animals.