In Praise of my Threaded Eyebrows
After Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s ‘In Praise of My Manicure’
In praise of thread: doubled & twisted. A helix love
affair between beauty & pain. Tension of pulled
skin. Friction in the form of heat. Praise
the two hands which grasp my hair’s execution.
Not far behind beauty is pain. The tension of pulling
rows of caterpillar legs from the dirt,
using the hands of gravity’s air to perfect execution:
the monarch leaving its chrysalis behind.
Farewell! Caterpillars resting below the acne
of my forehead. Hello! Shiny sleek queens
arched with a crown full of crystals. Behind the throne:
a curtain made of nylon. Yanked apart
across my forehead. I fall in love with the yellow sleek queen
trimming the hedge above my nose.
Curtailing made from neon. Yank a part of my body
on the edge of the salon. Stretched,
trimmed & hedged & before I know it—
there are parts of me that see again.
The edge of the salon outstretches its arms:
doubled, twisted—helix love of praise & thread.
Add Coconut Water (A Lục Bát)
This can be bought or found
in the tree
in the ground of your
living room. The one your
years before you were
born. A seed that gave birth
to a legacy worth each bruised
palm from each time you lose
& fall to roots or feet,
bare feet. Black & treated with sun,
yes, the tree trunk can move
depending on whoever needs a
fresh coconut in the family.
Bow as it walks steadily
into your kitchen.
Free the knife
from your hand & grab tight
around the body. Kite your way
up & shimmy your weight towards
At the highest
point holds the juiciest amount
of furry coconuts. The best
part, of this heartwood quest,
is how, with your left arm holding
the ingredients in
place, you will
“You were born in Vietnam, I don’t see any of that in your food”
-Tom Colicchio (Top Chef judge) to Hung Huynh (Season 3 winner)
I must have left what you want from me
back at home— along with my full metal ao dai cardigan
& my fuck-you rice hat— you speck of snow pea
squeezed between your take-out chopsticks. You splinter
of a person, you papercut pushed into a vat
filled with 2-year-old office hand-sanitizer. You single
pop-rock in the back of the throat. Rinse your mouth
with my tongue until you forge the accent you crave
straight through the roof of your mouth
until it rests just above your right eye. Tell me
how to pronounce me again: does it sound
like pho, does it sound like a hole? O, the lights,
the camera, the cilantro going black. Step back
from my knife before I make you cut to commercial.