18th Century British Imperialism
Asia created, in one shaker cup,
boba: the most Asian American
thing known to Asian kids
with Ducatis, or Asian kids
with booksmarts, or Asian kids
into Jane Austen, or Asian kids
who go to therapy, or Asian kids
that say slurs.
wave of a hand, explorers left
land & found Lewis, who found
the leaves, who found the teacup
that resides next to a statue of
the queen under a monarch of milk,
assam, & sugar. All hail
the next hip trend, the grass jelly
viscosity of sweet bystander.
I love boba in the way
bánh mì cuts my mouth
with each roof bite. Add butter,
add blood, add pepper.
Be smoke stuck between your teeth
like French-kissing a wreath made of
your favorite colonizers.
Joshua Nguyen is the author of Come Clean (University of Wisconsin Press), winner of the 2021 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, the 2021 Writers’ League of Texas Discovery Award, and the 2022 Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Poetry Award. He is also the author of the chapbooks, American Lục Bát for My Mother (Bull City Press, 2021) and Hidden Labor & The Naked Body (Sundress Publications, 2023). He received his MFA/PhD from The University of Mississippi, and currently teaches creative writing at Tufts University.