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I wanted to see how things die outside my house. 

From the balcony, the sea appears to expand from its negative space.

I take the dog out back on a day when I feel lonely. Between the dog and the sea is a gun.

The sea holds no comparison to my father, unlike the gun that reveals its shape as soon as

I cast light on the focus.

Between the dog and the sea is my father

no matter how much shade is thrown against his face with the weight of a blur.

The sun warms against any form despite what's going on inside the body. I take the dog

out back where no one could hear me or the wild clams yelping. Like a phantom. Like a

phantom. If I locate the critical point, everything after will fall into place at precisely one

distance at a time.

Memory is a reenactment of our trip to Ha Long Bay, where ships seem to bob in bleeding

blue lines as if everything all at once could disperse.

I took the dog out back. My father only wanted a boy.

It was the garden that laid him in a vertical press.

- Hong-Thao Nguyen

Hong-Thao Nguyen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a recipient of a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. She is also a Kundiman Fellow and has taught at the University of Iowa. Her work can be found in Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Critical Quarterly, Lantern Review, and elsewhere. She currently edits for The Iowa Review and Drunken Boat. She lives in Baldwin. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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