You Have To Be Ready by Amanda Galvan Huynh


You Have To Be Ready

              when they are—
my mother hands me
              dishes to wash—
even when you’re not.
I watch her turn

the faucet on,
              my hands heat
under the water
              and I wonder
who told her

              she had to be open
              How many times
did she lie, split
              open, reviewing

a mental list of things
              to be done tomorrow?
Did she learn
              over the years:
where to kiss,

              when to touch,
how to suck to help
              her husband finish
quick—to end
              the chore. To make

more time to be
              the good wife, the one
who makes floorboards
              reflect the moon
when it comes

              through the window,
to make sure
              he doesn’t drift into
another woman’s body—
              to say yes.



This poem was the Second Place Winner of the RHINO 2018 Editor's Prize.

AMANDA GALVAN HUYNH is a Chicana poet living in New York. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Sewanee Conference and Sundress Academy for the Arts. In 2016, her poem was selected for the AWP Intro Journal Project Award. Her work has appeared in Muzzle Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, and others.