in vietnamese, the word for origin is "source of the trunk"
by Kimberly Nguyen
because my father says i came to him in a fever dream
that homesick, he closed his eyes and tasted eden
his tongue split open
and from the folds i emerged
in another version of the story i am a reincarnation of an unfulfilled life a raindrop that
never reached the bottom of the mountain before the earth swallowed it in an old myth
i am delivered by either the waves or the shore depending on the translation.
but in the true version of the story, i was salt.
i would know. i was there. i remember.
i calcified into bone and became the rib of a fish that my father caught
and brought it to my mother that my mother cooked and set out for dinner
midway through the meal i caught in her throat before i was bone
before i was salt i was ion waiting to get caught
somewhere aren’t we all waiting to get caught
somewhere my mother coughed and coughed a swallowed bone
passes from this iteration to the next in one final hack she
expelled me pulled me out put me down.
Kimberly Nguyễn is a Vietnamese-American poet originally from Omaha, Nebraska but currently living in New York City. She is a recent graduate of Vassar College where she was a recipient of a Beatrice Daw Brown Prize for Poetry. Her work can be found in diaCRITICS, Meniscus Literary Journal, Parenthese Journal, perhappened mag, Hobart, and others. Her full list of publications can be found on her website at www.kimberlynguyenwrites.com.