The White Mandevilla

On the road

a rose bush grows

with blooms big as a babies’ head

it invades the air

with imperial ease.

Rocking on the Phu Quoc river

blue fishing boats.

In the pink massage parlour


the girl with rough hands hates the fat white women

who pay too much and speak too slow

she washes her sore hands

with Lifebuoy soap and pulls

the white hair of her clients just a bit too hard.

In Cua Duong the verdancy is cut

through by a concrete road

bisecting villas from houses

forest from garden.

Walking there

I pin a flower on my breast

fragrant and heady

the scent of soft fecund air

the dark vanilla Madagascan kiss

the tiny green waft of rice paddies

in peace behind the black gates of the villa

where the Mandevillas come out

white on green

like stars.








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