Emily Nguyen

April 24, 2008 at 1:16 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Poems Written in the Style of the Kokinshu

In each of the days’ rewritings
the night grows colder,
more alone.

Day walks down the pebbled walkway of the night
where you toss like a flower,
still held to the stem of dawn.

You climb out of a long silent past.
You dissolve like steam
into the shirt of me.

I was an empty lotus shell
tied to the stem of longing.

I am an asterisk
stolen from the night.

Like the wandering
dreams of fire,
a strong desire to know you
wanders in, and eats up
all that I know of you.


Spring and Summer fall
all over themselves
to reach you, frail October.
In the light of your leaves,
the sun retreats,
and the moon takes on
too many shapes,
more than its thin crescent
can hold
without waxing bold all over.

In the ink winding through the inner chapters
there’s an occasional flamboyant spill—

I remember when you walked into me.
I stare at my umbrella
as if your sense were rain
actually touching the body
of where I am.

Close the Curtain quickly

Close the curtain quickly
while the day is still drawing
with its soft grey patches

–quickly, before the colors splay

or the patterned cloth
of our lives
will be unpinned.

We have come through
the open scissors of the day.

Emily Nguyen was born in Madison Wisconsin She has an MA in Comparative Literature and in Japanese Language and Literature and has been a member of US1 Poets since 1991. Her poem “The Hamlet Ophelia Letters” will come out in an upcoming issue of ARS-Interpres.


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