Sunny Vuong

Poem In All The Wrong Ways
after leila chatti

No birds. No stars. No one remembering how they’re
dead but how brilliant they are. No one saying that

the sun’s just another star, no shaping it in the face of
a lover long lost. No more other realities. No more other lives.

The truth is that we get this one and then we blow it
before we ever have the chance. Again, no birds. No more

metaphors about how they’re flying and how they’re free.
I can’t stand being so full of envy anymore. No more you.

Who in God’s name is the you, ever, anyways? This poem
isn’t for you. I want it to be for me. I want to be selfish in

a piece for once. I’m so tired nowadays. There are no
bird wings or Greek muses that could change that. I’m scared,

and it is not poetic. There is no rebirth that makes this better.
It doesn’t matter that we see the same moon at night, or

the fact that you can pretend I’m the lover stuck in it. I’m just
angry all the time that it saw you first. So no more stars. No more

celestial bodies, no sweet figures that lie with them. No retellings
where something tragic hurts more because it’s us. I’m so tired

of hurting. When does the myth of me get a sweet sonnet based
off of it? When do I get that footnote just beneath me that says

I reimagined her with an ending far better. I want to be selfish
in a piece for once. I’m going to admit that I’m bitter and

jealous and not hide it in monster metaphors. So you’re right. I
say no more bird poems when what I mean is that I hate that

the birds can have what I cannot. If I wrote them, I’d only rob them.
I would ensnare them in my own words. And you are only reading

because I made you into a place by my side. I’m sorry. I guess I
can’t stop writing you. Isn’t that ironic. Would you still love me

if you didn’t have to. If I didn’t say that you’re the one in some
flash fiction piece where you save me. Would you still love me if

you knew how hopeless I was. I said this poem wasn’t for you, but
maybe I’m just angry all the time that you can only appear in stanzas,

anyways. I will make no euphemisms. I am hurt and alone.



Sunny Vuong is the founding editor-in-chief of Interstellar Literary Review. She is a part of the Adroit Journal 2021 Summer Mentorship cohort, and her work is featured or forthcoming in Half Mystic Journal, Kissing Dynamite, and perhappened mag, among others. Find her on Twitter @sunnyvwrites