The Story

My mother opens my bedroom
door and gags on the overwhelming scent

of urine, like something died, she says, 
in the story that follows me

to every family gathering,
a hound locked on the scent

of a wandering child. It was a phase
my mother said lasted until I was fourteen,

or around the time I started doing my own laundry. 
She goes on to tell them about the piles of wet

clothes hidden in the back of my closet, 
like something died—again

we all know this story,
a boy gets touched and then ruins

the upholstery, or a boy rubs himself 
in the back of the school bus

until his jeans become a shade darker.
I never told my mother I was molested,

never told her that story, the one 
where a boy finds a tongue,

ten years later, fermenting 
in a jar. I never told her

how someone reached inside me 
and turned on all the faucets.


From This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014) by Hieu Minh Nguyen. Copyright © 2014 by Hieu Minh Nguyen. Used with the permission of the author.