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   h u e

--- P H A N   H U Y E N   T H U

Night slithers slowly into the Perfume River
an elongated note breaks under the Trang Tien bridge

A Nam Ai dirge of widowed concubines
fishing for their own corpse from a boat on the river

To be king for a night in the imperial capital
go now, make a poem for purple Hue

Shattering symmetry voluntarily
with a tilted conical hat
	an askew carrying pole
		eyes looking askance 
Hue is like a mute fairy
crying silently without speaking.

I want to mumur to Hue and to caress it
but Iím afraid to touch the most sensitive spot on Vietnamís body.

			translated from the Vietnamese
			by Linh Dinh

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2003 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |