the universe began
with a big bang
a molten red envelope

folded within – a hell bank note
and an origin story
I have never heard before

I see constellations with unfamiliar
faces speaking in tones I do not know
and cannot remember the stroke
order of celestial characters

you placed a bright sun in their hands—little flame
they delivered me an ember to stoke the fire

we burn dollars and incense
I bow three times to show respect
yet hesitate to sift through the ashes

aching to piece together
genealogy from mythology
pick out shards of an odyssey never taken

the smoke swaddling
me in a wispy blanket you quilted
close knit into family tree
I’m choking on heritage

I drink the sweet nectar you left me
my enamel is thinning
citrus stings my sensitive whites

I return the ripe star to the hearth
my jaw sore from wondering
if the shape of your name
can fill the cavity in mine

Noah Yee Westfall currently lives in Washington, DC and is an aspiring poet. He recently graduated with a masters in public health.

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