beyond machine, there is tardiness. time wasted on worrying, gas tanks on empty, & forgotten wallets. email responses 68 days late. bills. after modeling the american dream, there are farts. secrets & liquids spilled under the influence of whatever we fancy. i dream of ugliness. ill-fitting clothes. oversleeping. drool. i don’t look like i shit but i do. i look like i cry but i can’t. faking wellness is easy with these eyes. only my dentist knows i’m dying. do you know how many times i’ve failed? barely made it out of a place i wouldn’t come back from? i’m a selfish eldest daughter. can’t make us proud. i had accommodations in college, i was so sick. almost wrecked my chances at an after. my friends and i have been fired for being sad. i don’t think there is a place to go when “gifted” kids fall. it seems their own faults for shattering potential. nothing between us & the ground. once, a boy saw me mad & tasted generations of grief for the first time. he was so scared of such simple things. silly him, fear is for us. say, i saw on the internet you can’t even name what happened to you anymore. i wish a very support network to unlikeable survivors. i hope the nasty ways you clawed back when cornered doesn’t lose you everything. i hope your a***e* is a bad actor. terrible public speaker. even then i’m still so worried. hey. can i tell you something? it was my impropriety that saved me in the end. he couldn’t stand it, my humanness. or his own. something he can never control. i’m leaking, i’m not sorry. don’t you see? this is how i become a real boy. beyond sex robot is rage & desire. beyond doctor engineer is i think this is a poorly written poem. i’m obsessed with wrongdoing. it’s my ticket out. your correspondence finds me broken, slacking, shivering. i want: never to betray myself like that again. hysteria. madness. a hug. it’s a good thing the most wounded don’t want revenge. i’m going to get a fucking crunchwrap supreme.
Born in Gò Vấp & raised in Dorchester & Alief, Thanh Bui is a writer & actor currently based out of Austin, Texas. Her written work has appeared in The Offing, Lammergeier, Cosmonauts Avenue, diaCRITICS, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, & other places accessible to her mom. She loves constantly.