Yesterday in Saigon

by Carl Boon

Tranh fastened his bicycle 
to the Joyful Crab’s door,
remembering Mass 
when he was a boy, when war
had not yet come. The path 
to Thao’s village was ferns,
firs fallen, propaganda
tacked on saplings.

He was 14 then,
Thao taller than him,
and he’d fallen in love
with her geometry,
the angles of her hips
and elbows, how she knelt 
near the mansions 
collecting laundry and coins,
sometimes a hazelnut.

But that was long ago and she
remains a girl, blasted
sideways by a mine,
a black and white photo
separate from those we know.

She was too thin
for the oncoming world,
the different trains,
the dazzle.

Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently Lime Hawk and The Lullwater Review. Forthcoming work is scheduled to appear in The Maine Review and The Hawaii Review. A 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon is currently editing a volume on the sublime in American literature.

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