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I Want

By Paul Tran

TO SAY IT PLAIN. He comes inside
without a sound. I shut the door

I should have never opened. My body
flips over on the bed like a coin

face up. There’s no choice
in the outcome—just blood

sliding down on my knees. I try to speak
but his tongue in my mouth doesn’t

let me. SAY IT PLAIN. He pins my arms
back and makes me call him

DADDY. The ceiling suspends
above me. I feel it shake

each time he thrashes his weight
into my skull. Like a ghost,

I pull the white sheets around me
until I disappear completely. I pretend

I’m not there. I don’t want to look at him
but he makes me. SAY IT PLAIN.

I dig my nails through the seams. I watch
him watch me watch him stroke my hair.

I know it isn’t him but his kindness
that hurts me to the point of death.

I WANT TO SAY IT PLAIN. I don’t know
how else to explain what happened

except to—SAY IT, SAY IT
PLAIN—say it

the only way I can.

Added: Thursday, June 11, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Paul Tran

Paul Tran is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and historian. Their work appears Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, RHINO, which gave them an Editor’s Prize, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, VONA, Poets House, Lambda Literary Foundation, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Home School Miami, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Conversation Literary Festival, Paul is the first Asian American in almost twenty years to represent the Nuyorican Poets Cafe at the 2015 National Poetry Slam and Individual Poetry Slam, where they ranked Top 10. Paul lives in New York City, where they serve as Poet In Residence at Urban Word NYC and Poetry Editor at The Offing.

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