Perfume River Resident
Mai Ly’s toes squished mud at the river’s
edge. A memory flooded her senses.
No, Father, no, yells five-year-old Mai Ly.
It is time for you to learn to swim. Flap your arms and kick
your feet like I showed you, said Father.
Breath. No breath in water.
Flailing arms and legs –
a heavy weight dragging her down, drowning
Opening her eyes
she met the gaze, eyes like quiet lanterns,
a bright maze filled with ancient tales.
The dragon in the river.
His eagle claws lifted her to shore.
Published in Words and Images Poetry, upcoming in Quiet Lantern (Turning Point press, March 2016)
A Leaf Prays
Shooting stars, meteors, eclipse
direct Mai Ly’s journey in the moonlight heaviness.
Rivers, ocean, streams,
grant her safety as your lips breathe.
As Lac Long Quan, prince from the sea
and Au Co, princess of the mountains
Joined in union beginning the lineage of the Vietnamese,
may the mountains loom in protection over her.
Jade Emperor, guide Mai Ly in all directions –
five cardinal points (center, east, west, north and south).
Ancestors, inspire her to perceive the five natural
elements (earth, metal, water, fire, wood).
A leaf fell off the peach branch in Mai Ly’s altar
and floated at the river’s edge.
Published in The Wayfarer, upcoming in Quiet Lantern (Turning Point press, March 2016)
The ladder vibrated
Under The Feather
Like hummingbird wings, like an avalanche.
His sweat mixed into a cloud
Of ice crystals. Afraid,
He called upon
Guardian Spirit –
Please help me
Reach the sun.
A black blur shifted
Just outside his
Sight. Giant raven
Spread his wings,
Becoming the top
Rung of the ladder.
Climb up here on
Published in Mystic Nebula,