Litany of Failed Lines from Previous Poems

It is raining.
I am all nerves and sinew when we knock teeth.
I forgive you for that time you found a 3-legged mouse and took it home to nurse, forgetting all about me at the bar until closing.
The way you say my name: suZAWN: as if it exhausts you to think of me out loud.
Let’s go swing around construction sites after dark, our bodies dangling from skeletons.
Your mind bright in spasms.
I want to break open that melon head and pick out the seeds.
There was a time we slept on suitcases and photosynthesized in the sun.
Your mouth left holes.
Your mouth a lit cigarette.
I used to think eating the seeds meant a watermelon would grow inside me.
You’re full of useless baseball stats.
The feeling of wet socks.
But still.
Explore the vacant lot of my mind.
Feed me into the air, into the darkness.
Read me like a box of cereal.
Read me like the ad for free STD screenings on the side of your bus, which says
there’s no medicine for regret and ignorance is blisters.

Susan Nguyen is an MFA candidate in poetry at Arizona State University. She is the recipient of a Global Teaching Fellowship from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and her poems have appeared in PANK, diode, Boxcar Poetry Review and others. She is a poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review and one half of the zine-making collective Dumpster Poets. You can visit her corner of the web at