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My story / is a series / of pent-up men.

Poetry | Straddling Convention
February 14, 2013

This poem is part of “Straddling Convention: The Erotic in Asian American Poetry,” edited by Ocean Vuong.

If every cell
inside my brain
is replaced

after seven years,
then why can’t I
excise this:

he pushed his tongue
into my mouth, I sat
in my Catholic skirt,

the Listerine
and smoked cigarettes,
that tongue

like a slug
that turned
into my mouth.

My story’s an arrow
pointing back to this,
back to when

he curved
my palm
around his sex.

My hand hasn’t
grown up
since then.

My story
is a series
of pent-up men.

I sleep with them
and hide
my tongue.

In my chest
is a neon portrait
of the Sacred Heart

It lights up
every time
I am touched.

This poem first appeared in poemmemoirstory.