A Reactionary Tale
I was a caring husband. I bought socks for my family.
My swarthy wife liked to wear these thick woolen socks that came up to her milky thighs.
I had a lover also. People could see me walking around each evening carrying a walking stick.
My most vivid memory, looking back, is of a pink froth bubbling out of my infant's mouth.
Not everything was going so well: one morning, malnourished soldiers marched down our tiny street, bringing good news.
When good news arrives by mail, the cuckoo sang, tear up the envelope. When good news arrives by e-mail, destroy the computer.
When an old friend came by to reclaim an old wound, I said to my oldest son: Go dump daddy's ammo boxes into the fragrant river.
To reduce drag, some of my neighbors were diving headfirst into a shallow lake.
We were rich and then we were poor. A small dog or maybe a cat now pulls our family wagon.
From Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry, edited and translated by Nguyen Do and Paul Hoover. Copyright © 2008 by Linh Dihn. Used by permission of Milkweed Editions. All rights reserved.