Two Poems by Helen Tran

12 April, 2016 0 comment

HOI AN

rooms with windows
opening to beauty
the reclining sunset, the sandy moon
the swilling harbor, the bright boats

these are the sterile rooms
where people leave no stories
where my sweat leaves no trace
where tear stains wash easily
out of the pillows

these are rooms that look out
on beaches where old women still cross
with bamboo yokes pulling their livelihoods:

quail eggs, small and warm in my hand
less than a penny each.

DA LAT FAMILY GARDEN, 1976

the banana trees are thriving,
despite the bombing the week before
unlike the rest of the house
where some children peep through
the bulletholes in the wall

the youngest is crying on the front step
where their dog used to sleep
while the rest are giggling
as the adults slowly thread the bananas
with hot chilis – little fire missiles,
meant for the monkeys that lately
have decided to visit

where else would they find
food, one child asks, when the jungle
is burning all the time,
and one of the elders makes an angry noise,
reminding all of how the beasts tore apart
with their innocent human hands
the trees, the flowers, the shadows in the garden,
everything except
the new red, yellow-starred flag hanging
on the fence.

Helen Tran is poet and novelist who recently graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. Her thesis project was a steampunk novel written under the supervision of Joseph Boyden. She is a professor of communications at Niagara College, and enjoys teaching creative writing at Centauri Summer Arts camp.

Featured Image via Shutterstock.

0 comment

You may also like

Leave a Comment