XUAN NGUYEN

Title: THE DIVINE DO NOT LIVE ON THE FIRST FLOOR 

Poem: I. But from here, 
I can see the door. 
I can see the floor 
of the first divide 
before the heavens’ demise, 
I will be the snake that swallows heaven wholly, 
I will swallow it holy, 
I will swallow it: Holy.) 
II. But from here, 
there is no more 
than the gild 
that surrounds me. 
Starling in a cage, 
who will you be? 
What will you sing? 
(Can you hear the fairies sing, 
each to each? 
Seed to futile seed?) 
They will never find the green. 
III. I have seen it. 
But I am a star in a cage. 
A house in the fen, 
IF, WHERE, AND WHEN. 
I grew up in this swamp, 
a boy watching 
silken tree breeding silken moth, 
cocoons unraveling in clever fey-fingers, 
who sold their silks 
with bells and dead-ringers.
IV. In the Silverwood of 
the Crescent Court 
banking the swamp, 
I first saw red. 
I first raw fed. 

(continues)
(When I rose from the remnants 
of viscera, 
my belly full of roses, 
The way the fairies looked at me 
was the way birds look 
at birds of a feather.) 
V. One day, I heard the fairies sing, 
A bird is a bird is a worm, 
upon the firmament of the kingdom of heaven. 
I held firm: 
I will be a serpent, if I must be a worm. 
VI. Unlike the fey, 
I have seen. 
I have found the green. 
Severin, oh, Severin. 
You know that the heavens 
will not win. 
I will be 
Ouroboros me. 
VII. Chevalier Lacandola, 
Will you do more than-- 
plead. When you know. 
When you know what I am. 
Inimitable, 
unforgivable, 
and everlastingly 
destined to be 
forgotten. 
The world will not remember me. 
I have made art: I have a legacy 
of ripe blood, milk petal, and star scale.

But there have been others before me. 
And there will be others after me. 
None the same, 
but the same. 

(continues)
VIII. I may die forgotten, 
but it doesn’t matter. 
It doesn’t matter, as long as I am seen 
by Holy. 
Holy is a mirror. 
Holy is what I will become. 
Holy is what I have won, 
and which you were given 
from the heavens, 
SEVEN, SEVEN, SEVERIN. 
IX. In Holy, I will find: 
the shed-gold of gilt cage, 
the silver-eye of silk pearl, 
a mouth of venomous design, 
And a fate to match mine. 
X. A fate to match mine-- 
we shall see in time 
who becomes Divine.

Xuan Nguyen is a disabled, transgender, and Vietnamese-American writer and artist who does music as FEYXUAN. They focus on the intersections between transgender identity, divinity + monstrosity, and stigmatized mental and physical health. Their work has appeared in Prismatica Magazine, Rogue Agent, and beestung. They have two upcoming chapbooks: LUNG, CROWN, AND STAR (Dec 2020, Lazy Adventurer) and THE FAIRIES SING EACH TO EACH (Nov/Dec 2020, Flower Press). Xuan can be reached through their website at feyxuan.com or on Twitter @feyxuan.

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