The Man With Blue Eyes

legs like birch trunks stripped
white by winter
ginseng root toes
mangled from wear
chest scarred
the color of wheat fields

but he smears
like wet ink when we touch

we celebrate the harvest moon
forgetting to mourn
the death of summer

launched paper boats
bleed colors
soak up more shadows
than they can hold

peeking at hardships
through a keyhole
the way a hurricane
searches for land
I lose a shoe
at the water’s edge
something else too small to miss
also drifts out to sea

we scribe promises
in squid black
as if they have a place
of permanence
thin strings bind our pages
into a collection of odes

counting stars
every night
a different number

a dragonfly in winter’
falling mercury
discards its wings
in mid-flight

put your blue eyes
back on the windowsill darling
keep the lightning bugs
from entering

face made mean out of habit
fists throb
like two beating hearts
I’ve never been angry enough
to freeze oranges
like heads with the name
of my assassin
scratched across the rind

but here I am

I listen to the house breathe
the creaks
of someone leaving
and the stillness that follows

breakfast burns on the black
skillet still sucking in air



Samantha Lê, born in Sadec, Vietnam in the aftermath of war, immigrated to San Francisco when she was nine. A recipient of the James D. Phelan Literary Award and the Donor Circle for the Arts Grant, Lê holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San José State University. Her publications include Corridors and Little Sister Left Behind. Her poetry has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Hypertrophic Literary, The Minnesota Review, and other fine literary journals.