The city opens us

like a pair of wounds—

we suck in salt

and lead particulate

as we press against each other,

lips of blood that split and breathe,

we fall into resuscitation

driven by engines and tarmac grime—

I sweat and burn with fossil heat

buried a hundred million years,

close my eyes and touch my tongue to

the petroleum residue

on your skin.


"These vivid poems give a sense of Hanoi as an Asian City of Dreadful Night, dense with temptation and lost hopes, in which this young American poet (to quote James Thompson) 'writes in the dust' his 'heart's deep languor' in poems of sharp diction and rich imagery."

—John Balaban