I became an invader myself / a pathogen with survival traits
an invasive species of love which said
if this is how you live your life
perhaps you should live it elsewhere
& so I did
I lived it elsewhere
in a waterproof shell
said goodbye to the Asian carp
the kudzu vines
the bark beetles stripping the coast
a pathogen with survival traits
delivering small mammals
to the owners of piranhas
I sank to the bottom of Lake Malawi
& rose finned & wealthy
became a tank became a bowl
Steven Duong is an American writer from San Diego. A 2021 Poetry Coalition Fellow at Kundiman, his writing is featured or forthcoming in Guernica, AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, and other venues. He will be starting his MFA in Fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the Fall of 2021.
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Tell More Lies
Poems and stories are only two sorts of lies, but they’re the ones Steven Duong tells most often. Try out his writing exercise to generate new work.
Ashes at Kande Beach, Malawi
Everything is an elegy these days, all chipped rings, / clipped wings.
The Five-Year Plan
The family in my novel is like this arowana. Born to hurt things. They are hunters, even when there is nothing left to hunt.
More in this series
in & out of jean shorts (the reel catches)
I wish for sex out / in the open, to have / some strange body / glide over mine, to collide / as if to butterfly / underwater required not one / but two sets of salty / chests & jutting / calves
A Man Called After Dark
the smoke of belt burn / and nectarines and me / — I will learn to love him
“Path of Totality”: A Poetry Reading by Niina Pollari
Niina Pollari reads the title poem from her new collection published by Soft Skull Press