“Hands”: Poetry by Tam Nguyen



On March 16, 2021, a white gunman committed mass shootings in the Northern suburbs of Atlanta, United States, resulting in the deaths of 8 people, 6 of whom are Asian women.


Show me your hands.

Should you know there’re

Ways to make the world tender?

—More than the pairs of hands

That corked a 9mm, morning’s

always too fresh for life.

Another day of work to realize

You, in fact, haven’t lost everything.

May it be a birthday card left

Unwritten on the porch;

The crispy pork belly to be

Picked up on the way home;

Also, mothers after mothers;

Children after children; waiting.

Know that sunset means

There’s always something

Awaits on the other side; though

Sometimes, dream reminisces

Nothing but shoreless water.

This: American dream.

Waiting. And

Show them your hands—

How you made a boat; and

Made it here.

Tam Nguyen is a Saigon-based poet, born and raised in the south end of Vietnam. His works have appeared and are forthcoming on Heavy Feather Review, SOFTBLOW, Road Runner Review, Dryland, Quail Bell Magazine, and elsewhere. Find him via Instagram: @builddahome. 

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