Yes Means No With a Smile

Saigon
near brush
with dusk, the over-wrought
beaten-cooper pearl
full moon gong
floated
over the wedding party,
fire crackers
staccato
good luck demon riddance
perhaps too near
gun fire for my former
soldier companion
blew the vocabulary
lesson
away -
he didnít want meat
and pointed to vegetables
in my
Vietnamese-English
phrase-book
at the soup stall
where we ate,
in another language
I guess
because they too pointed
and smiled and nodded
then honored him with beef.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000