Poem: Susan Nguyen

Illo for Susan Nguyen's poem.

A list of directives:

step on the dead branch
press down on the almost-hurt

watch night through the canopy of leaves

get on the boat                       the plane

open your mouth
form sounds

learn the words
here’s your new alphabet

memorize your SSN
pay your taxes
greet your neighbor

speak only the right sounds
a voice with no inflection
a voice that doesn’t waver
 
 
don’t you want your children to fit in

smile for the camera

you are free to be happy now
 
 
 
Susan Nguyen hails from Virginia, but currently lives in the desert where she is hard at work on her MFA in poetry at Arizona State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, diode, Boxcar Poetry Review, and others. She is the recipient of two fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and is a poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.

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