Hongvan Nguyen


Hongvan Nguyen has two college degrees, an A.A. degree in computer and a B.A. degree in English with a concentration in poetry and a minor in philosophy from    George Mason University. She is the author of two poetry books, Under the Stone and The Chickadees. Her 1st book was chosen as the Award Finalist in the 2011         Readers Favorite Book Contest. Her 2nd book won 1st Place Award with Five Stars Publications for its 2011 Royal Dragonfly Book Competition.


                    After School’s Hours

                    I watched her scoop the puffy,

                    roasted, colorful rice balls, light

                    as cotton from the big nylon

                    bag into the smaller ones; then

                    she handed me each of them

                    so that I could seal the mouths

                    of the bags by scanning them

                    through the flaring tip of the

                    candle’s fire.


                    The shadow of her face

                    occupied half of the brick wall,

                    was flickering and trembling

                    in harmony with the dancing 

                    of the glimmering candle fire. 

                    It looked bloody red compared

                    to the lurid hue of her real face,       

                    the one with some unknown,

                    onerous ennui.


                    Suddenly, I realized she was

                    no longer a little girl, the one

                    whom I used to play hide-and-seek

                    with just a few years ago. The

                    financial destitute caused by the

                    deposing regime had denatured

                    us and transformed us from

                    innocent, unworried children

                    into senseless creatures seeking

                    ways to feed our hungry stomachs.


                    She stopped scooping and asked

                    to exchange the task. I didn’t

                    like the scooping task more than

                    the task of sealing the bags, and she

                    wouldn’t slow down while I felt

                    belittled, besotted and exasperated.

                    I was thinking of the home work

                    that I hadn’t had the chance to

                    finish because of this job, and worried

                    about getting a bad grade for it.


                    Feeling of my unusual silence,

                    she said, “the prerequisite you get

                    will help you keep doing it!”

                    I smiled, understanding she couldn’t

                    read what’s on my mind.                                           



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