A System of Satellites by Như Xuân Nguyễn

Edition: 500 copies of the winning books were printed by the Prolific Group and designed by Gabriele Wilson, with covers by John Gall.


Extraordinary poems come together to build Như Xuân Nguyễn’s A System of Satellites, a chapbook that is relentless in its elegance, restless in its truths, and one that questions what we must do to remain our most permanent selves inside all the man-made gerrymanderings of gender, race, nation—false constructions that almost always refuse to see those of us on the margins, no matter how bright our reflections.

—Adrian Matejka

The Moon of Makemake

                           S/2015 (136472) 1 or MK 2

What happens if I do want children?
One hundred eggs to divide
between the mountains and the sea?
When the doctor went over
the consent form,
he told me I should assume—
irreversible body
changes. I’ve snapped
off all my ends. My blood pools
in a valley and travels
nowhere else.
I could have frozen the possibility
of a child with my mother’s eyes
but I couldn’t wait.
I didn’t want to pay. I ended
a history of reproduction
perhaps four billion years long
with an aesthetics
against instinct.
I can never be a mother
and I can be a mother
to anything but a child
with half of the memories
that conceived me—
like any woman I can work from the body
an outcome I can’t control,
a portrait of a moon
as dark as charcoal, a life all its own,
a series of marks showing
where I choose to hurt.

All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

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