Listen to Vi Khi Nao read her poem:
I h u s h the etymology of your fingers
By tasting the eternal night around their tips
Fennel immolates your desire into my broth
I am clavicle not vulture cleaving your aniseed for pain
I h u s h the wilderness near your basin-shaped cavalcade
You elevate in your throes of ardor & I bend to meet
Your feminine furniture legs and all as a reference
For diptyque & civility If your tongue is one type of
Transitive verb Will my lips be able to take
Yours as a direct object for a complication of time?
My left cheek seeks in sequence the grammar of your breath
The translucent material of your fugaciousness
As you lean from syntax into chopstick
If time identifies herself as a pansexual & you agree to be the nodes on my laptop
If my desire is binary + yours has urinary tract infection
Won’t it be cruel if I suggest we all sleep together,
Muscle & all, on a bed of salt & oysters?
Won’t it be fun for bivalves to be bisexual ?
To open a Vietnamese restaurant for lesbians called Sapphở?
Read the Vietnamese translation of this poem.
Vi Khi Nao is the author of Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (Press 1913, 2017), the short story collection A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016, the novel, Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016), and the poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014. Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in NOON, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review and BOMB, among others; her interviews with writers have appeared in many publications as well. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University, where she received the John Hawkes and Feldman Prizes in fiction and the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award in poetry. vikhinao.com
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