f (Noreen Ocampo)

after Fred Moten

I never unlearned the violin and the woman’s silver shoes remind me 

of your nail beds. light the end of the lime. our jasmine’s gone

wet and salt and I know you’ll say something about the taste. I’ll say

about the flame and your softening silver. it hurts pretending to forget

the unconditional, the simple, the something I still keep inside

this notebook on the page with the fruit stamps, your signature,

the boy with the busted-ass balloon. no, I’m forgetting the specific

ribbons and the blue-black blood. You remembered, after all,

the nineteenth, easy as those four-digit iterations. I woke up crying

lavender soot laughing out my nostrils. can I tell you something radical?

I am an island dreaming. fuck an orchestra, but I miss it.


Noreen Ocampo is a Filipina American writer and poet based in Atlanta. She is the author of Not Flowers, winner of the 2021 Variant Literature Microchap Contest, and her poems can most recently be found in Kissing Dynamite and indigo literary journal. She studies English, film, and media at Emory University. Say hi on Twitter @maybenoreen! 


image: MM Kaufman