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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

Alison Roh Park teaches Asian American Studies at Hunter College and is founder of Urbanity LLC, a social change enterprise. She is a past Kundiman fellow and winner of the Poets and Writers Magazine Amy Award and Poetry Society of America New York Chapbook Fellowship for her collection of poetry What We Push Against. She lives in Queens, New York, with her dog Kush.

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