If Not for Kidnap at the IPRC

by Rebecca Nguyen

I am a visual learner

so when I am sitting in the fold out chair, with my two buck chuck
and you are up at the mic
turning pages, swiping screens
the words are incomprehensible

I give up, I let them go
I let them hover above my head
(a sleepy mist, a sagging tarp, the northern lights)
or pool at my feet
(an unassuming puddle, a pile of dirt, a sticky soda spill)
I am mapping your brain waves
to see if they match with mine

I miss a poet because I am in the bathroom, coughing
but I fall in love with one boy
and the other, well, I want to lick him
there’s the girl who makes me shiver
the woman I want to slap
and the old man who is like the rest
except he has to sit

From them I hear, in no particular order:

  • a hot, wet bed and lines of code
  • alternating patterns of pink and blue
  • the soft pad of a cat’s paw
  • a knife and a frosted yellow cake
  • white-capped waves of velvet
  • a string of Christmas lights
  • a New York city sidewalk and a potted plant
  • breasts, perfume, something…more, I can’t remember
  • where else are you allowed to stare and stare and stare
  • where else can you see
  • electricity all laid out like that

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