Anhvu Buchanan

I am the author of The Disordered (sunnyoutside press) and Backhanded Compliments & Other Ways to Say I Love You (Works on Paper Press ) My poems have also appeared recently or forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, The Journal, kill author, Vinyl Poetry and ZYZZYVA. I was the recipient of the 2010 James D. Phelan Award and also received an Individual Artists Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. I received an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State. I currently teach in Berkeley and can be found online at www.anhvubuchanan.com.

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A History of Your Histories

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Say I start a scroll for you. Say I handed you the needle. Say you stitched for me until your fingers gave in. Say you gave me all the words you had in this life. Say we found the skylight hidden in the library but couldn’t look up. Say I let you buy me over and over again. Say I felt a thousand small puddles gathering inside me. Say my arms were set to stun and I reached for you with clouds. Say my stack of books wait for you by the door. Say I’m trying to smell your histories one grocery store at a time. Say I don’t trust tarot cards but I trust your toes. Say I never went to your reading and started a fire instead. Say my bucket is full of holes. Say the flames follow me even into my bed. Say we came for the stars but stayed for the bees. Say I surrender and say you do too.

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Friend Zone

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If by chance I find your dress asleep by the riverbank, I’ll let it be. Let it rest like the loaves of bread on the kitchen counter we could never swallow. The bread was never our home the mason jars never our church. Again, another fireplace we put out of business. Because we both knew from the beginning how the path looked. When I dusted the trail with paper cranes and only got guilt only got more rainwater I didn’t know where to place. I staked a claim to your wings hoping you would sit beside me and give me faith again. Faith in each bite of broken teeth you fed me. Faith in the way we could stare at the ceiling quietly and turn the chandeliers into art. You asked me to give you this but instead I gave you that. I gave you a city darker than your prayers and splinters on your heels and excuses and a fleet of hot air balloons with no heat and no directions and enough trinkets to fill up a whale and not enough ways to tell you your body was more than just a mountain I couldn’t stop writing about. Your eyes jog away and I hear it in your hair. That there is nothing left to harvest. And you know what owns me tonight and tomorrow. So you don’t come home and you never will.

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