About the Feature

When I stared into the alpenglow

When I dared to drink the water
and water was nil

When silence was a flock of sheep, and a path a line
broke my concentration

Planes lifted above our heads

when it was easy to manage the remote and was easy

I touched the base of a sycamore and light
refracted our flesh starlike
shards of yellow, and dun

when we were just children
made of lace and no content, like

When a bee landed on the sill, curling the mid-
ventral track when the wind picked up

tresses of hair, bits of thread

my sister was the first to die, then the dog
then September forgave no one
sleeping on the asphalt and burning

what, what then, what was left

I shoved in my pockets

when I gathered the azaleas where we were born
and time was as skewed as I

couldn’t say if windows freckled
the house, if the clouds

received the people, the people
the clouds, I wouldn’t know

my face from my palm two inches away

from apologizing outwardly, on the inside
dead and otherwise a thing

When ruin, when ruin, her ruin-shocked spine
the rake slammed through

When speaking softly was not a signal
of hierarchy, a mating call

dropped in the middle of an unspoiled panorama
mud and the copse surrounding

Memory felled like a tree
mist eclipsed the hay, just so

nothing can follow

“there is someone / watching us” this day
or this day or this day into night when a farmer
found her body all spread out in the field

when my hands were wet and red with petals

when dying young was a woman picking fruit
and shepherds were anything but

About the Author

Hong-Thao Nguyen received an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in City Paper, Lana Turner,and Lantern Review, among other publications. She is a Kundiman fellow and reads for the Iowa Review. She currently teaches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.