birdie fly, birdie stay

when voices hush, the night lies down,
tucks itself under a bulky plaid quilt.

you’re wrapped in sleep, snoring lightly,
as coco saunters in from the rain, meows,

disappears behind an armchair.
i get up from bed, move hastily about the

room like a thief, stuffing a sweater, a scarf,
two nectarines into a rucksack.

5:56 a.m., a cab beeps impatiently outside.

my hand on the doorknob, my legs straddling
the doorway, i pause to hear you sleep-talk:

birdie fly, birdie stay… birdie, don’t leave…

there are reasons to why we all come and go.

i’m not the best version of myself.

the commotion in my head loses epic battles.

the broken in my body needs repair.

i’ve been searching for nutrient and light—
a nest to escape from the november rain.

sorry for shutting the door, for leaving the key
under the welcome mat, for not saying goodbye,

for coming and going like those women who
talk of michelangelo.

Chau_photoHa Kiet Chau is a Chinese-Vietnamese American writer from Northern California. She teaches art and literature in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, Off the Coast, Third Wednesday and Columbia College Literary Journal. She was also nominated for Best New Poets (Ploughshares 2011) and Best of the Net (Flutter Poetry Journal 2012). Her chapbook, Woman, Come Undone, is forthcoming from Mouthfeel Press.