Changeling: Cutty Nguyen

with thanks to Christopher Chinn

Cutty as in crazy gook bitch will cut you,
cracking gum in the shadows of hi-rise ghetto-in-the-sky
before newspapers were spread on shag carpet
for that evening’s curry dinner
in the dark are her fingernails
shiny enough to be mistaken for blades?

Cutty as in Cutie, China Doll taking up
too much space at the Oriental Food market
stacking boxes of inter-ethnic ramen
stealing cans of Mr. Coffee during 15 minute break
ignores the stares from white men with rings
on their fingers-
and in the parking lot,
I fought for your people in the war, bitch, you owe me.

Cutty as in Cuttlefish, or more accurately squid,
moc her daddy would heat up for her on the greased plug-in grill
that would blow fuses in the house if the microwave
was used at the same time, that stink the neighbors
complained about, along with the perfume of
fish sauce, the pre-crunk of Viet new wave,
that smell and sound, the gooks have come,
watch out for your pets,
American tragedy turned bestseller
between the covers of a book.

Cutty as in cu chi, traitor in a tunnel
rising snake-like
from a hole you never expected in the earth,
innocent dirt you could turn your back to
suddenly now the slant-eyed succubus
stabbing you with a chopstick she took from the bun
in her hair

Cutty as in never quietly, but seldom heard, as in, Cutty as in who gives
a fuck what you think anyway, Cutty as in everything I need to be, as in, Cutty is not my name and it should be obvious but you never asked.