For Ho Xuan Huong (1768-1839)

For Ho Xuan Huong (1768-1839)
by Edward Smith
this long breath for you if you were alive
& sitting right in my living room, your words on fire, your tight language leaping the gap between your sexual nature & another time, nation, mountains, trails across the mist, kiss me, across
your female, dark-lipped, longing, the trail is one pass after another, one people expanding southward, think of
the tunnels they dug and ran in when the aggressor threatened
& you hold now my other nature, my patriotic being, sauntering between temples built in Hue during the reign of the
Gia-long emperor, I weave through your magnificent words, your sorrows drift across my head, clouds, rain breaking down all the barriers imposed by philosophy, by words themselves
& I embrace the wind itself in your smile
& there is no barrier not crushed by our dual music
Dec. 16, 2003

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