If, relative to the history of our planet, an individual life is so short, a blink of an eye, as they say, then to be gorgeous, even from the day you’re born to the day you die, is to be gorgeous only briefly. Like right now, how the sun is coming on, low behind the elms, and I can’t tell the difference between a sunset and a sunrise. The world, reddening, appears the same to me—and I lose track of east and west.

From On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong © 2019. Reprinted with permission of Penguin Press.