Frontier OPEN 2020 Finalists: Josh Nguyen, Remi Recchia, and Sabrina San Miguel

First, a sincere thank you to all the finalists for partnering with us. All of these poems deserve high praise. For the final Part 3, we’re sharing work by Joshua Nguyen, Remi Recchia, and Sabrina San Miguel. You can read Part 1 of the finalists here, Part 2 here, and see the Winner, Kayleb Rae Candrelli, here.



by Joshua Nguyen



Joshua Nguyen is a bisexual Vietnamese-American writer, a collegiate national poetry slam champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He is the author of the chapbook, “American Lục Bát for My Mother” (forthcoming, March 2021, Bull City Press) and has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tin House, Sundress Academy For The Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. He has been published in The Offing, Wildness, American Poetry Review, The Texas Review, PANK, Auburn Avenue, Crab Orchard Review, and Gulf Coast Mag. He has also been featured on both the “VS” podcast and Tracy K. Smith’s, “The Slowdown”. He is a bubble tea connoisseur and works in a kitchen. His debut poetry collection, “Come Clean” (forthcoming, fall 2021, University of Wisconsin Press), was the winner of the 2021 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. He is a PhD student at The University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA.


Walking with My Lover to Bury Our Dead Fish

by Remi Recchia

Slow-breathed and boot-clad, we

walk to the lake with our dead Betta

fish in hand. You placed her tail-

down in a children’s beach

pail. It’s midnight and we are not

supposed to be out, but at least

here the reeds will mourn for us, make

space for our empty teeth. The stars

swarm like golden mosquitoes. I can taste

fresh humming in my throat. My feet

slip when we meet the dock. We hold the pail

together. The pail is still. Our pale

hands are still. Had our mouths been

moving, dead language would have wrinkled

currents deep within the lake. You wrinkle

currents deep within me. When I proposed

last year, I felt your yes settle

inside my chest. I adore you through bed-

sheets, through dinner, through trinkets

snatched like a magpie, so many tokens

cluttering your dresser. We swaddle each

other in bubble wrap every morning. No

bruises here, we say. Pass the bubble

wrap. Can a fish be tucked

safe in bubble wrap? I suppose we didn’t try

hard enough, and now we’ll never know, but my

darling, all I want now is to propose

over and over and over again, read

yesyesyes on your lips, scoop

you back home. I want to live in your soft

thighs. You let me enter each night; my body

never wants to leave, but first we have to let

go the thing we could have raised

together. We turn the plastic bucket

upside down, fish so small she doesn’t even

splash. I see one pink fin poke through coarse

gravel. And then the moon wakes up blazing

silver, and the lake is illuminated—

your eyes reflect everything that has ever

been perfect, and it’s almost like we never

killed anything at all.



Remi Recchia is a poet and essayist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. He currently serves as an associate editor for the Cimarron Review. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Remi’s work has appeared or will soon appear in Columbia Online Journal, Harpur Palate, and Juked, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University.


Teaching your Homegirl about the Root Chakra

by Sabrina San Miguel



Sabrina San Miguel was born and raised in Denver Heights on the East Side of San Antonio, Texas. After dropping out of high school at the age of 15 and having her first child at 18, she obtained a GED and eventually earned a BA in both English and Women’s Studies, and an MA in English from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. San Miguel is a 2018 Macondo fellow, co-founder of Feliz zine, and a single mother of 3 children. Her work appears in Latinx Writing & Rhetoric Studies, The Rumpus, and others.
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