Open this when you need me most,
he said, as he slid the shoe box, wrapped

in duct tape, beneath my bed. His thumb,
still damp from the shudder between mother's

thighs, kept circling the mole above my brow.
The devil's eye blazed between his teeth

Or was he lighting a joint? It doesn't matter. Tonight
I wake and mistake the bathwater wrung
from mother's hair for his voice. I open
the shoe box dusted with seven winters

& here, sunk in folds of yellowed news
-paper, lies the Colt .45 -- silent & heavy

as an amputated hand. I hold the gun
& wonder if an entry wound in the night

would make a hole wide as morning. That if
I looked through it, I would see the end of this

sentence. Or maybe just a man kneeling
at the boy's bed, his grey overalls reeking of gasoline

& cigarettes. Maybe the day will close without
the page turning as he wraps his arms around

the boy's milk-blue shoulders. The boy pretending
to be asleep as his father's clutch tightens.

The way the barrel, aimed at the sky, must tighten around a bullet

to make it speak.

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About "Always & Forever"

“always and forever” talks about the issue of father absence, giving readers the idea that there are many children around the world suffering from father hunger, on the other hand, “headfirst” (another poem by Ocean Vuong) talks about the unconditional love and support from mothers, contrasting the 2 poems.

Always & Forever Track info