Ode to the Pubic Hair Stuck in My Throat

by HIEU MINH NGUYEN

 

O diligent survivor

            clinging

to the edge

of a chasm.

 

Little tickle.

            Little wire

            picking open

the doors

illuminating the corners

of my body

I did not know

could swell with touch.

 

Bless touch, I guess

its round noise.

 

O little brown body

            coiling

in the middle

of that soft pink

alley

            how lonely

            it must be

to come from desire

            but end

            where light ends.

 

Son of the floorless

            prayer

son of the O horizon

remind me

what it’s like to speak

without

            a white man

flickering in my throat.

 

O small equator

            making

every story

a ruined portrait.

Bless the faultline

 

beyond my reach

            little fracture

in my speech.

Little secret

 

            I keep

trying to cough up

but instead

cause my mother

             to raise

her small hands

to my forehead.

            Con nóng?

 

            Bless also

my mother

her perfect temperature

her concern

the only language

            we have

to say

sorry.

 

Bless language

its impossible walls

its flexible agony

            a thin line

I keep tripping over.

 

O little thread

undoing

            the hem

of my body—

 

but wait, bless also

            my body

how it rejects

the unfamiliar

            convulsing

            conversing

with itself

            excising

            evicting

            cutting down

the rope

bridge

            rolling

the debris

into a question

mark on my tongue.