From the balcony, the sea appears to expand from its negative space.
I take the dog out back on a day when I feel lonely. Between the dog and the sea is a gun.
The sea holds no comparison to my father, unlike the gun that reveals its shape as soon as
I cast light on the focus.
Between the dog and the sea is my father
no matter how much shade is thrown against his face with the weight of a blur.
The sun warms against any form despite what's going on inside the body. I take the dog
out back where no one could hear me or the wild clams yelping. Like a phantom. Like a
phantom. If I locate the critical point, everything after will fall into place at precisely one
distance at a time.
Memory is a reenactment of our trip to Ha Long Bay, where ships seem to bob in bleeding
blue lines as if everything all at once could disperse.
I took the dog out back. My father only wanted a boy.
It was the garden that laid him in a vertical press.
- Hong-Thao Nguyen
Hong-Thao Nguyen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a recipient of a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. She is also a Kundiman Fellow and has taught at the University of Iowa. Her work can be found in Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Critical Quarterly, Lantern Review, and elsewhere. She currently edits for The Iowa Review and Drunken Boat. She lives in Baldwin. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.