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Illuminated behind a skin
a grey     the sky with fat
fast slants of snow

Fire Horse poet     This is a birthday
poem     squeaky underfoot
the snow and Jeanine’s cookies

I drive husbands and fathers
to early deaths     Push the knife
into the cake to cut it

Me the supposed bringer of ruin
(money)     Covered in fondant and
violet flowers

It’s my birthday      My eyes are older








(First I wrote “bland lands”)

Could be a score or map of the heart?
on a doorway threshold     a ceramic fireplace
icon        full of impossible scars

“Love and Irony” is the name
               of a tiny memoir

I toasted corn tortillas        melted
cheese        washed the pile of towels
and a white blanket that pills

Does the map include flaccid Florida?

There might be mountains     plastic
wine cups and also plastic “micro-beads”
from certain face and body wash     detected
by scientists in the LA River

My house smells like spice and garlic
New moon Aires
            the one who hates enclosure

Fly with heavy wings

I should like to see a flower







          after Libby Holman

What is this adding up to? A kind
of either/or     Kneel so bad

sick and warm      “I feel like
      miniature chocolates”

A kind of twirl inside      inside
where you twirl the voice       Die perhaps

like a woman nature-y
        purpling the hyacinth

                  (smells like purple)
I am in profile so you can

see my “good side”     3 smashed
birthday zinnias    a-la-de-la-da-die

groan      You know      the fun
          kind of mucus

In the future     there will be
no compulsory monogamy









Full moon in Virgo
pre-vernal equinox
and snow on the second day of spring
and boiling water for another dinner

Center and place
the Ferrier building up the street
where someone’s horse was shoed
                       (not mine)

Verbs from a cookbook:


I don’t haven
I mean    I don’t have
an arrangement for words or letters
although I’m considered
the poet of the “domestic”

Fresh ground pepper
Several garlic cloves     smashed
Fine salt       from the sea

and I think this is fucked
like the things that are fucked

like that piece of music
“Rumours” with the funny U in it
and Uganda
but what the fuck do I know
about Uganda









January long light
Janus      I see you

2 faced looking in Capricorn
Capricious like the snowy owl

We fear heavy body collisions
God of doorways and gates

January     time of doors
time looking back on itself

       spelt and salt

They say when you
walk through a door

You can forget what
      you came for









Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen is the author of eight books and chapbooks including As Long As Trees Last (Wave, 2012). She currently lives in Toronto where she teaches poetics in a private workshop and curates a reading series. Wave Books will release Red Juice, a gathering of her early, uncollected poems, in September 2014.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2014

All Issues