Selected by Bunkong Tuon, Poetry Editor

Joshua Nguyen: Two Poems

This Is Just To Say, I Am Done Labeling My Oat Milk In The Faculty Lounge

instead, I will purchase a pink
piggy bank for people to pay me pennies
or nickels or whatever dimes
they feel is needed for me to feed
their bellies with oat milk oat
creamer oat meals for their shy
mouths that won’t introduce themselves
to me in the hallways or at the faculty
meetings. Maybe yes, maybe a printed
QR code under a printed picture
of my face from a year ago:
smiling with chipped teeth with no
dental insurance for 6 years. Who has
time for petty office theft? Which professors
have no guilt for the taking
of my plums, my sushi, my goddamn leftover
bagel bites? Is this a northern thing, a Boston
thing (a race thing?)? Faulkner or Laymon
or Trethewey or Nezhukumatathil wouldn’t steal
my milk (I bet O’Hara or WCW would).
I am a part-time lecturer, not a full-time
professor of gluten-free blueberry pastries—y’all,
those aren’t even for me, they’re for my love
who is smarter than me, hotter
than me, & whose tummy wails
at the site of me chumming down
$3 slices of za at the train tracks
off of Forest Hills because I am
always hungry & I am
always searching
for the cold plums
I left
in the refrigerator
So sweet &
so mine.


Abandoned Duplex

Penthouse painting of a Magritte
of worms that crawl out a green apple.

Worms crawl out the green apple, all that is
left from the last ransack. Sand litter

left of the sack of black top hats—
what son of a man lived here?

The son of a man who once lived here
once spent his love uphill so he could

spend his love to uphold fatherly curses
broken by the end of the line, by the end

of his world, lineage of silent
fathers no longer drip

down the red ties of fatherly suits

of pent-up rage that pants toxic grit.


cover of Come Clean by Joshua Nguyen
Come Clean by Joshua Nguyen

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