Narrative of the Naga’s Heirs

Never read my life
As the diary of some sad refugee.

My account is not intended
As a routine narrative of adversity overcome,
“Mere survival” once again, transcending
A descent to White–Hot Hell
Converted to the Placid Limbo of Frogs.

Know I miss the familiar strange here,
In a way you cannot fathom.

Our hard ghosts remain vigilant,
Thin as an inked scratch on an old palm leaf
Haunting with a tongue claimed incomprehensible.

The old signposts have been lost,
But in strangeness, possibility.

I hope, moving, a shadow in uncertain passages
Making melodies for newsless souls.
In daring this, might I shape some limitless star?

We, scrambling to replace what we barely knew,
Barely recognize our tangled metamorphosis,
Our hymns of recovery organs of uncertain purpose
In the body cosmic, mistaken easily

For endings, not new beginnings.

(Editors’ Note: “Narrative of the Naga’s Heirs” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 8B.)


Bryan Thao Worra

Bryan Thao Worra is an award–winning Lao–American writer. He holds an NEA Fellowship in Literature and is the author of six books with writing appearing in over 100 international publications including Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, China, Korea, Chile, Pakistan, and across the United States. He is the first Lao–American professional member of the Horror Writer Association and is an officer of the international Science Fiction Poetry Association. He is the Creative Works Editor of the Journal on Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement. His work is on display at the Smithsonian’s national traveling exhibit “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story.” His 2013 book Demonstra: A Poetry Collection was selected as Book of the Year by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can visit him online at

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