Hieu Minh Nguyen


Their arms reaching over              my body, like a bridge
          or tightrope over some electric pool. Finger-diving
into each other’s backs.      I am still
                    fully dressed, and maybe I’m a prude,
                                        or maybe I thought
some eager mouth would find me.

                                        I guess
that’s what I get for thinking of myself half-full,
or even water at all, or even cold. Y’know
you’re not supposed to
          be cold. Not with this many people
in a bed, anyway. When they finally notice me
                           kissing their shoulders,

like a dog eating
off the dinner table debris, they both kiss me.
          A thousand swelling hairs on my tongue.
                    They taste the same, and I know
I’m probably watering down the flavor,
          I’m probably diffusing the boil, and the boy
that brought me here says he wants to expose me
                    to great things. He opens my throat,
                             this disposable gutter, and I know
                                               I’m empty

or full or which one he wants me to be, but I hope
          it’s the right one, and I don’t know who’s holding my face
to the mattress, the one that wanted to salt my spine,
                    or the one that wanted to tag along
                             and sing some wicked lullaby,

but I hope it’s the right one.
It’s a miracle that I haven’t spilled over, really is
          some kind of blessing that this accordion torso
                    has yet to break open with its hideous yawn,
and I should consider myself lucky         enough to feel
                            a current pass through me

even if it settles in someone else.
          There is honor in being a message
                   in a bottle, or just the bottle,

          jagged. Don’t kiss the messenger, don’t fuck
          the middleman,               or do, and watch the sweat
                                                bead, and then disappear.

Hieu Minh Nguyen is a Minnesotan. He is the author of This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Press, 2014). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Anti-, Indiana Review, decomP magazinE, PANK, Muzzle, and other journals. He works at a haberdashery.
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