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NATALIE LINH BOLDERSTON Fragments of my mother’s homeland underwater Southern Vietnam will be submerged by 2050

– Saigoneer, Oct 2019

Every place has a name for this. Here, it is tâ. n thê ´. A fortune once told me that rain is worth everything and so I knew that it held all we had ever burned – pork skewers, begging letters, hell money, my great-grandmother’s remains, her son’s prepared flesh. In monsoon season, they fused with everything we exhaled. • Once, Vietnamese people were said to be descended from Âu Co’ , a fairy from the mountains, and La. c Long Quân, a dragon from the sea. When their forms touched sand, one hundred children climbed out from black eggs. • When the land disappeared, we poured our ancestors’ ashes into Aquafina bottles, let them live in the ghost of our thirst. • Once, we planted peach trees for Tê ´t, planned to chop and sour the fruit in jars. Once, the sun slipped so low that every peach burst on our palms.

60 The Poetry Review

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