top of page
spring/summer 2019

                                                                                                                                                                                        The upstairs is cluttered:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      a collection of hangers,

                                                                                                                                                                                                      two standing speakers,

                                                                                                                                                                                                      & both rice cookers. 

                                                                                                                                     I am called upon for help,

                                                                                                                                     for biceps flexing. To assist

                                                                                                                                     my father in bringing down

                                                                                                                                     the furniture they saved. 

                                                        This speaker has been here since

                                                         before your birth. Karaoke

                                                         nights were lullabies
                                                         towards your mother’s womb. 

                                                        I brought this speaker home

                                                        byway of a classmate of mine.

                                                       They bought the speaker
                                                       but then sold it for tuition. 

This speaker was used
in 1994— the Rockets won

their first championship:

you, a good luck fetus. 

I remember drinking til’

the Cognac seeped into

the apartment below us.

I hoped they welcomed the drip.


That night, the city grew

more highways. The skyline

glowed like your mother.
The speaker echoed applause. 


It rained during the parade

and we knew what wet

would do. The splashes felt

nice without any ocean salt.  

I bought you your first

jersey the next day—

three months before
you were a happy accident. 

Hakeem (‘The Dream”),

Clyde, Horry, Maxwell —

A legacy passed on
to you, my loyal son. 

Save the Furniture, Not Yourself

by Joshua Nguyen

Photo: A young Joshua Nguyen and his sister.
Courtesy of Joshua Nguyen.
Due to its format, please view this poem on a desktop computer.

Joshua Nguyen is a Kundiman Fellow, collegiate national poetry champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He has been published in The Offing, The Acentos Review, Rambutan Literary, Button Poetry, The Texas Review, Gulf Coast, and Hot Metal Bridge. He is currently an MFA candidate at The University of Mississippi. He is a bubble tea connoisseur and works in a kitchen.

bottom of page