About this Poem 

This poem was published as part of Writing from the Absence: Voices of Hmong American Poets, a five-part series curated by 2016 Walt Whitman winner Mai Der Vang that highlights a small community of Hmong American poets whose voices enrich and bring greater diversity to the literary landscape of this country.

Off the Blossom Trail

—Fresno, Spring, 2016

Every few years, miles of upturned fields skirt the city,
& the rows of trees—peach, almond, & sometimes
grapevine trunks—lift their roots toward sky.
No one else comes to pay tribute to this but you
so you walk amongst the dying, the fallow, the sky turning
over another day, stop at some knotted stump & think
about when you’d last come here with your parents
decades ago, posed with siblings for their camera, the voices
of others around you spreading beyond the mist of petals.
The dark now gowns, renders familiar shapes
illegible. The stars reveal this threadbare night, the apogee
of you from your car, but it doesn’t feel quite right
to make your return, so you continue astray, leaving 
your ears as guide. The crickets chirp & you
can almost decipher their monosyllabic words, let go
of any pretending to be at one with, to understand nature,
do as you’d done as a child:  let the voices
around you spread beyond what is unknown,
the valley walls so far off nothing bounces back. 

Copyright © 2017 by Andre Yang. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2017 by Andre Yang. Used with permission of the author.