The Pu Pu Platter Appetizer

Treat food in the urban suburb    Chinese   
sticky ribs    fried triangles          For fifty years 

she kept the poem written out on Holiday Inn 
note paper     A poem by a man named Dolf Droge 

archived at the Library of Congress as “Vietnam Historian”
She heard him read the poem in mid 1960s Vietnam

     “He was already old then”   and part of U.S.A.I.D.
a poem in English dispensing VN kinship history

She says Saigon women are famous for their glamour 
was at the beauty salon  the day her restaurant 

was bombed     A package bomb and inside job 
courtesy of the young dishwasher who earlier

that week met with new friends she never saw
before     They came to the restaurant      She bought

them a round of Cokes                The explosion killed 
the cook’s three year old daughter  and closed

the restaurant for good                Things remembered
directly after “The Fall”:      Surprise embarrassment 

mewling kittens brought to third grade show-and-tell 
in a paper grocery bag      Reluctant beehive up-dos       

Beef on a stick            jumbo shrimp   Sterno flames
         Named any number of names 

“In the future even stones will need each other”

Copyright © 2021 by Hoa Nguyen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 10, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.