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She’s still there the further you look back. I mean before the war,

and the wolves, and the other war, and the French, and her departure,

and even the Chinese—I mean that way back. And since I’m talking

about my mother, let’s talk a hair-down, cat-eyed perfection, heels on a

borrowed Vespa kind of laughter—filling whole highways

with her eyeliner (another kind of laughter) and a deep belly

laugh at the thought of the Trưng Sisters ever jumping from

a single thing besides the time it takes my mother to flip the switch

on a boring conversation with a dick joke—what did she say?

I mean keep up, I mean that far back—when Vietnam knew a world

could be best run by women and more women with still more laughter

charging the void—a still-life silt, a nitty-knot of a lump in the throat—

that sensation between choking and uncontrollable, heaving laughter

at the very thing that controls you and your body and your mother’s body and

my sisters—my dear sisters—we always had laughter for our bodies that kept

planting deeper into the woods // groundcover // insert cut-scene, rescind the fairy

tale: we all know there are no true villains—we’re just a bunch of hungry animals. 

I would jump with you, I would. I would give it all for you—laughter at

sundown, laughter at the feet crushing statuary, laughter until our very

last word on this dying Earth that just keeps turning and turning its

silhouette shadow figures slipping back into human skin at dawn