We named you twice;

first as poetry, second as insurance.

Press one to your ear & you will hear

Đà Lạt in full bloom.

Gray-crowned crocias thrashing dawn

because they have no need for rest

or safe words. See how the perennials,

barely brushed by war, boast

flower faces, powdered

skin. Sugar cane, honey-

mooners cradled in our Valley of Love.

Romance to their spring fling. King

of agritourism. Carry that Indochinese

charm like no Other. Hair straightened

into submission. Exotic pet,

make their fever run yellow. & when

Le Petit Paris feels too niche,

turn to your second name,

a dressing for foreign food. Relish

in the common tongue. Act as the Saxon

nymph they think you are

& you will do well or at least better

than us. Hold onto this one like a pledge to

God. Even though you don’t believe

in playing games, you must play this

for our sake. Last thing:

your truest calling is the toughest one.

They’ll try to take it out, chop

the leftovers into bites, sound

easier on the ear.

But never mind.

A butchered name

is still a name

kept alive.    


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