Ignoring the doctor’s red call
I swam in the molasses-thick swamp
of my indulgence, allowed the sugar to ruin
the picnic. The lawn beneath me humming
with little invaders.
There are conditions if one insists
on knowing the secrets of my blood.
I know it’s hard to gaze at the night sky
speckled white & not wish upon
the dead light, but I ask only for your laughter.
I ask for all the ways I can remain
whole & not a vision with missing limbs.
Look at the trees blistering with sap. Goddamnit
look at me! Look at me in the old way
in this new light.
Once I loved a boy, who feared, so much
his own sickness
I never confessed to him my own.
Afraid he would turn, with his worry, my smile
into a knife—into a scythe
covered in ants.
From Not Here (Coffee House Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Hieu Minh Nguyen. Used with the permission of Coffee House Press.