“The Enchantress That Made Us” by Xuan Nguyen

Xuan Nguyen


we try to be good,
we try so hard to be good.

but it’s in our nature,
you can’t change nature, 

trying’s futile,

so we love, love, love you,
and we do what our
maker says.

she compels us to say,

what are a few cuts
where no one can see?

what is that against a wickedness
sweeter than we?

and when you resist,

rain on our velvet boots, 
a cat that can’t find his way home,
a night cold as water-chill,

that which is beloved,
ruined, ruined like you,
once godlike in your mind’s dominion

now diminished
into the pathetic nothing
you always knew you were

we are only making you
what you were meant to be.

little less than us,
but more than we.

from Rattle #71, Spring 2021
Tribute to Neurodiversity


Xuan Nguyen: “Five years ago, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, depressive subtype, which my psychiatrist described to me as ‘schizophrenia and depression.’ I wrote these poems during the second major wave of psychosis, when the antipsychotic medication I had been on had stopped working and before I had found one that still worked. Part of my issue, I realize now, was distinguishing between psychosis and dissociative identity disorder, which only recently came to light between me and my therapist. Some of the voices and presences I wrote about in my poetry were actually nascent alters, I realize now.” (web)

Rattle Logo