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Build You Up

By Alison Roh Park

If it were not so scarred from your accidental
rages—uptown, upstate—I would have rested
on the cinder block of your chest.

If your laugh were not perforated by the asbestos
lace of your lungs, I might have believed it.
If my hands were strong enough to catch the swivel

of your hips—if the rhythm made sense
—I would have fallen into them. And though it might have
killed me

I would have lived in the building of you,
climbed ten flights and from the roof of your eyes
watched your sons run to you, the tar

sticking to my feet. Back in the day when
antennae jutted out from the skyline like hungry ribs,
kids like you and me would

put our palms out to feel the heat
escape from the black lava, thick
and slow like thirsty mouths.

Added: Monday, June 30, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Alison Roh Park
Photo by Yoon Kim: kimyoonsup.com

Alison Roh Park is a Kundiman fellow, Pushcart nominated poet, and past winner of of the PSA New York Chapbook Fellowship, Poets & Writers Magazine Amy Award, and Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. She teaches ethnic studies at Hunter College and is a founding member of The Good Times Collective of emerging poets writing in the tradition of Lucille Clifton. Park appeared on the panel Writing from the Margins: Life, Survival, and Healing for Women of Color and was featured at the 7&7: 7 Poets Celebrate Kundiman’s 7th Year reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness 2010.

Other poems by this author