Kimberly Nguyễn

and what do i get to keep?


my love              overflowing for you                 i saw the future:             each star alignment
would leave me empty-handed                 still, i turned towards you                   kneeling, i raised
my palms to the sky                    my beseeching hands, unfolded

in benediction, hands never close                          into a fist          what lands upon our trembling fingers
can always lift off and leave us                 my faith was wrong                 it once thought              ecstasy
was the image of god                  in which we were made             i know now that image was pain
the way i look at you                                the same way god must have looked at adam
and saw the future:                     a back turned from an outstretched hand                           god and i—
the same fool     both knowing that we will come away with nothing      having given everything our
hands reaching towards you anyway

Kimberly Nguyễn is a Vietnamese-American diaspora poet current living in New York City. She was a recipient of a Beatrice Daw Brown Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for Frontier Poetry's 2021 OPEN and New Poets Awards. Her work can be found in diaCRITICS, perhappened mag, Hobart, Muzzle Magazine, and others. She was a 2021 Emerging Voices Fellow at PEN America, and she has a forthcoming collection in Fall 2022.
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