August 4, 2022

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh
I’ll have water overnice 
Freedom was getting to sleep over at our uncle’s. 
Fridays consisted of squirting ketchup into our waters  
and Saturdays with blankets over our eyes 
from the late-night horror films.  
We were three spoiled children that slept 
with sugar running through our veins 
and nightmares 
we didn’t tell our mother. 

Then the pencil marks on the wall got higher 
and our hands started to grab more. 
But uncle was still squirting ketchup into his water. 
Freedom was forgetting to answer his calls 
and taking cash out of the birthday cards 
he made. 
Keeping us healthy costs 
more than his insulin shots. 
But his hand kept feeding 
until he lost his sight.  

He was fooled 
humbling himself 
a Giving Tree. 
We took his only good apples  
and now his eyes.  
When he wanted them back, 
he didn’t ask.  

He noticed that our feet reached the ground 
at our corner red booth, 
but the waters were drunk from 
and the fries were dipped in ketchup.  
He didn’t need eyes to see  
that he was being taken advantage of  
and he surely didn’t need them to see 
that his water needed ketchup  
for old times’ sake.  


Bad Habits 

I wish that a bee would sting me 
With luck, I’m allergic 
My boss for once apologetic  
and I don’t have to clock in  
I will make my bed  
and attempt to put on clean underwear  
in case my last day on earth is in a few hours  
This soon to be abandoned room and body  
should make my family proud  
or the morgue will know I was at least hygienic 
I keep makeshift weapons underneath my pillow  
to ward away conceivable danger 
Perhaps I’ve forgotten that gun beats paper  
and scissors won’t cut through people’s intentions 
I wonder if this is why I can’t prepare for you  
No anxious bee, 
those I call family, 
or even murderers on a killing spree 
will worry me more than what you’ll do to me 
I’m made up of poor habits and unreasonable thinking  
It’s not mind over matter 
or faith over fact 
It’s knowing that I don’t care anymore  
If prison is my home  
and it’s what beats inside of you  
I am smart enough to escape  
But I’ll run its course  
because I’ve got nine lives  
for which I’ll run to you each time  
I lose pieces of myself in all the risk  
But it is you  
who will sell your soul to the devil  
for a tenth life  
Because you walked away nine times 
before realizing you had one shot  

Painting by Chase Fleischman
To Whom it May Concern

We’re not so different  
You and I  
This pipe dream 
leaking through your veins 
and through my wires 
That evolution would pursue Darwin’s theory 
and the strongest will be made of meat  
with technology along to mimic  

These lenses of mine 
cannot relish a heaven beyond neon 
or reckon the ridicule of a letter 
Written with the very ink  
that denies a machine’s assistance  
To whom do you write  
for your last dying wish  
if not me 
The one created at your disposal  


Costly Habits for Half Price  

Happy hour has commenced 
and there she sits  
Twirling those two tiny straws  
that no one knows what for 
in two orders of long islands 
for her party of one 

The name of the drink  
was too ironic for her short getaway 
But she knew she’d drop 
before the lemon does 
And this was cheaper 
to fog the memory  

She must be young  
the way her spirit is naive 
and goes down easy  


Loving Miss Paradox 

She was one to take her breakfast  
on the go  
in a red plastic cup  
filled with Frosted Flakes  
at two in the afternoon  

She’d tell me about how more milk stains 
were added to her cup holders 
because the song was too good  
to pass up a tango 
between the wheel  
and her mid bites 
She thought her goodnight calls put me to ease  
but I knew she was dancing
in her little concert of a bedroom  
at two in the morning  
to songs that stained her pillows this time  
There were deep-rooted troubles 
that only her stuffed animals could vouch for 

I loved that she was always pacing and blurting  
about the battlefields she encountered each day  
while copying papers at work 
Just to lay down beside me for hours after  
giggling as she put bandaids on her battle scars 

Her mind constantly badgered  
to end it all
But she’d roll up her sleeves 
ready to fight my fights    

She was so simple  
in the most insane way 
I wanted to hold her so bad 
and promise her 
no more breaches to her peace 
and breakfast on a plate this time  



I’ll have water overnice

Kaeli Dinh was born and raised in Orange County, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and hopes to pursue a career in mental health. Writing poems and fictional short stories are her creative outlet and she plans to have some of them published.

You can find her on Instagram or by email.

I’ll have water overnice
#friendship#kaeli dinh#poetry#uncle

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