Aviator by Tracey Nguyen

The heat in my legs is similar to being with you except there is no release. I can hunger and hurt. Why does my new laundry detergent smell like sweat? My room is too clean for this. Nothing is knocked over and there is no tension. I am too comfortable. I am only aching for you in my mind. And lately, I have been able to control my mind. Which means I am able to let you go. I didn’t expect that to happen. We didn’t have much but we had the sex. And the sex, I held on to it for so long. Every day. With my imagination and my silicon friends, you changed colors and size and speed. It was never the same but I closed my eyes and I smelled you and felt your grip, perfectly firm. You pushed me without ever hurting me and it wasn’t contrived like bondage but primal and perfectly natural because the leather of your skin was tough from 5 a.m. practices and a construction summer job and fucking keto. After I slept over at your new house that first night, I told someone this man ate a hard boiled egg when he woke up, brushed his teeth, then left the house with his side of the bed still warm. I woke up and went to Hotcake House at 6 a.m., where I met a father and daughter from Beaverton. The father used to go dancing at the same clubs my parents went to in the nineties except he would go to Hotcake House after and my parents went home with the friends they came to America with or met at ESL classes or nail salons my mom worked at. Then after they had kids, they skipped the clubs and partied at home. I remember this because I would hold my breath like a spitball in my throat when I heard angry voices break out. One time you spoke Spanish to someone on the phone. You sounded angry and it scared me but I felt bad when you apologized because of course I didn’t even know the context. I mentioned how you talk about missing your mom but never your dad. You said you just don’t like him. You said it like you hate him. I realized I never talk about mine either except for telling you he drinks a lot. I don’t know why I told you that. You don’t need to know that. I don’t know if you know how dramatic I am but I wanted to fucking throw you away because you never missed me except you would say it after I left. I just wanted to be wanted by you. In time, I cut my losses, and then I got what I wanted but I hated that too. Neither of us were being real about our unity but we were a unit. Where do you come from that understands me and why can’t I let you go unless I force myself to be moderate, which I would rather go batshit crazy trying to be with you than do that. That sounds really bad. I don’t want to be her either, but my point is why do you miss me then you act like you don’t care if I stay or not when I’m there? You’re fucking rude. It’s starting to not be sexy anymore. I don’t know what to think about when I masturbate now.

Tracey Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American poet and student of public health at Portland State.

detail of photo by REVOLT

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