Gamma Hydroxybutyrate

He pressed a white towel
against my face—
It smelled
like sugar—
Winter wilted
in my lungs—
An ice cream truck
on San Pablo Avenue
played its song—
My phone rang
but I couldn’t answer—
He nailed me
into the bed—
Everything came off—
Even the condom—
I stopped breathing—
All night
he searched my body
for something he lost
becoming a man
from what he loved—
He didn’t love me—
He loved what he could do
with his curiosity—
That’s how I learned
imagination is human
nature’s cruelest weapon—

Paul Tran is a Pushcart-nominated poet & historian. His work appears in Prairie Schooner, The Offing, The Cortland Review, RHINO & others. He's received fellowships & residencies from Kundiman, VONA, Poets House, Lambda Literary, Napa Valley, Home School Miami & the Vermont Studio Center. Paul lives in NYC, where he's the first Asian American to represent the Nuyorican Poets Cafe at the National Poetry Slam & Individual World Poetry Slam in almost 20 years.