Poem in Which I Refuse to See a Psychiatrist

by Steven Duong
In the airport, my father hands me a box of
worn-out hand gestures and
my mother gives me her broadsword.
She has no instructions as to its use­—that part
is simple enough. I've seen her toss the
blade in molten arcs,
bleeding the kitchen walls as she cleaves to
old Saigonese melodies. I've seen her
bandage the cracked hilt
in prayer beads, leaving steel unblessed and
bare to the moon. It is a hungry relic, always
snapping at her fingers
on work nights. In the prairie, i aim to
starve it. I will sheath
its mouth and blunt the teeth with grain
alcohol. There is no way to sever
the tongue, or my mother would have, but I
will teach it to hide, like a kicked dog.