Some Things That Allowed Us to Access Life’s Joys

Kevin Phan Click to

phanKevin Phan’s poetry has recently been accepted for publication in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Cider Press Review, Subtropics, Fence and elsewhere.  His first poetry manuscript was a finalist for the Crab Orchard Review Open Competition and as a finalist in the 2014 Colorado Review book prize competition,  He spends his free time working with Zach Smith on a “visual poem”/kid’s book titled “Whales in Space.”  Find out more at

The saw’s water changed
from clear to an earthy red ignition—
the color of myself inside.

Kara & I named the puddle beneath
the Corolla The Gulf of Valvoline
& rang the slick with our spits & laughter.

A half-frozen worksite in winter. Ice
pop-fractured under my boot prints.
Each step webbed into its own art.

Coconut milk simmered rice
infused with cardamom pods
& being offered seconds, twice.

Jasmine tea soaked honeydew,
juice rushed around my mouth
& chocolate-chip banana bread all winter.

James Brown, Live at the Apollo, howled
“Baby, baby, baby… baby, baby, baby…”
while we edge-died sutras.

Downpours glazed the worksite.
Shielded by raingear, I watched
puddles rush my boot prints.

Casting columns, Elza’s husky voice
warned of a rainbow of bees, a rainbow of bees
through his cow-brown beard.

Our annual bonfire. We burned
sacred texts, hanging a blue
smoke quilt over the gravel road.

That dream: clouds charged
underground— rivers took flight—
whales orbited the moon.