Why This Haunted Middle and Door Hung with Haunted Girl Bones

Hoa Nguyen

Yellow and pink comforter ending in pom-pomfringe on Flanders Avenue         She’ll diehere by choice         ashes in the backyardnot in a circular cement bomb shelter for oneGo into your tree         roll on a rabbit fur blanketrefuse to eat for thirty days         plus ten days        Unremembered         does it mattermisremembering the baby she lost    a different baby(unborn         never born         the unnamed)        This rain reminds me of rainI cleaned the pain but smell it on floorboardsof a Ford Fiesta         maybe need to burn effigiespowder puff                         French cosmeticsand perfumes     the tortoiseshell hairbrush fathergave her in Saigon         “My Butterfly”         he wrotein the long lost                         This is a clichéd teststuff the alarm clock         in my bag         Cloudsand black in the afternoon                         (untranslatable)

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photo of Hoa Nguyen
Waylon Smith

Hoa Nguyen is author of several books of poetry including Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008 and Violet Energy Ingots. A poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-“Fall-of-Saigon”, her most recent title, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, was selected for the longlist of the National Book Award 2021. Born in the Mekong Delta and raised and educated in the United States, Hoa lives in Tkaronto with her family.

"'I rename myself a bell to ring,' Nguyen writes, and that bell rings with impressive tonal and melodic versality throughout her work. This dense collection, rife with the life of the body, is proof of what language can bear witness to, a testament Nguyen makes wholly her own."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Nguyen's latest tells the story of Diệp Anh Nguyễn, the author's mother and a daredevil motorcyclist whose portrait — seductively and maniacally posing on her bike — appears at the beginning of the collection. An investigation of mothers and motherlands, devilry and diaspora, this book chronicles her mother's story but delivers almost nothing in the way of facts or events. Nguyen pulls off a paradox, a biography composed of gestures, the sort of thing that could only happen in poetry."

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