Let’s speak of the grizzly bear
in the middle of the room.
Thick black rambutan branches
dripping citrus under the sun.
What extra powers are suppressed
beneath? Lulling opponents to sleep
with each bend against the wind. Hope
is lost if you stare directly into the void
because by then, arms will outstretch
to consume its prey & what other
response is justified when under
direct attack & the focal
point is to stifle the air around you.
Any creature backed into a corner
remembers they have to survive &
remembers that they have skin
beneath their fur that can be penetrated
unless they quickly realize that
it isn’t the hair that wards off defenders
but the hidden keen teeth that refuse
to help another man’s hunger.
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.