Summer 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 3 Poetry |

In Hai Phong

for Nguyen Quang Thieu In Hai Phong I shared my small hotel room with a friend from Hanoi. He lay on the floor next to my bed, and in the dark, he told me how he once had his mouth pressed against the tangle of a woman's sexual hair, and then he said her name out loud—Hoa, which means flower. He said that the flower of her sex opened when he said her name, his lips pressed against the lips of her sex—Hoa. My friend told me this story without any irony, and with a sweetness men where I come from mostly don't understand. The noisy fan almost kept time with the rhythm of his words. The heat, even at midnight, was unbearable. I heard shouts out in the street, and a woman laughing. My friend said that when the lights went out, she put her fingers inside his mouth. 

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