Kimberly Nguyễn

pregnant silence

i fold wontons with a man i love.                        under the dim kitchen light,                 the wontons
look like round seeds                   tucked into an expectant belly,                and i am looking for a moment
to fold in the secret i’m carrying.

i want to say i saw the future                   because you came from it;                       i want to show him
where you are,                 nestled in the cradle of my hips              but he and i are two souls
enfolded in a fragile membrane                that i am afraid of breaking.                    i am trying to make
room for you,                  wrapping the wonton skins tighter          in hopes they stay whole in the heat.

later, he will go home, and never come back.                   how was i to know what i would lose?
              that his wontons, clumsily wrapped,                                would burst open in the hot broth,
that in two weeks time i would bleed                                out everything that remained of us,

how you would both move on from this:             you, to oblivion             him to happiness;

                          and i would remain, trying to follow you both to places i can never go.

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.