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Hanoi Sundays

Read by Ted Jean

Let’s be tourists. Let’s eat banana fritters wrapped in old homework, crouch
on red plastic stools under the banyan spiky with joss sticks. Let’s walk

to our lake, have a cà phê đá and count turtles. Our spoons’ll scrape and clink the condensed
milk chorus of men forever on lunch breaks. Let’s forget colonialism and believe

the compliments. Let’s not argue too much when they overcharge us.
During the underwater afternoon hours let’s speed

home through empty streets, take off our helmets, shoes, everything, wade
into cool bedroom darkness and explore our gecko pinks until the three-toddler

soccer game begins again in the alley. Let’s koala bear on the bike, crash
through the temple’s damp green breath, past Ho’s blank

field and blanker guards, blur flame trees with balloon men and tea ladies sprouting
from their roots, out to West Lake, let’s drink a beer and watch the bats

frenzy the coming dusk.

Kelly Morse recently returned to Vietnam on a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, which allowed her time to write about her experience of living and working in Hanoi for two years. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Brevity, Flyway and elsewhere. Kelly’s translations of censored Vietnamese poet Ly Doi appear in Asymptote and received Lunch Ticket‘s Gabo Prize for Translation, while her essays and reviews of Vietnamese poetry appear in M-DASH Magazine. A graduate of Boston University’s MFA program, she has had work nominated for Best of the Net and is a Vermont Studio Center grant recipient. Currently, she is completing a cross-genre collection that explores linguistic and world-view gaps between SE Asian and US cultures.