You will always be the kind of boy, / between the uneven yellow borders / of the KMart parking lot
You will always be the kind of boy
who steals bags of dirt from Ace’s lot
to dump, like confetti, from the overpass.
You will always be the kind of boy,
between the uneven yellow borders
of the KMart parking lot,
wrangling empty shopping carts
like a dollar-store shepherd,
the kind of boy
who will lean into the bug zapper
to light his cigarette, who will pawn
his mother’s ring for set of speakers,
who will crawl through my bedroom window,
who will say too drunk
in the morning & amen at night.
In the cluttered backseat of your Buick
we were red-eyed prophets, smoking weed
from a pipe we fashioned out of an apple.
In the dark, when I’d listen closely, I’d hear
the mice chewing through the hard candy
you left in your coat pocket.
When we were alive at the same time
we refused to be photographed together,
but pressed our bare feet into the wet cement
outside the rec center, where, from time to time
I’d return to stand where you once stood, a shadow
waiting for its body to move.
He’s still asleep in my bed, you know,
the man from last night, who came over
with a bottle of wine.
I wish you could see it,
the simple world,
the yolk bursting when it hits the pan.
“The Monument,” a poem by Hieu Minh Nguyen. ©2018 Hieu Minh Nguyen. Used by permission. A previous version of this poem originally appeared in them..