I think “vesicle” is the most beautiful word in the English language. He was lying face down, shirt burnt off, back steaming. I myself was bleeding. There was a harvest of vesicles on his back. His body wept. “Yaw” may be the ugliest. Don’t say, “The bullet yawed inside the body.” Say, “The bullet danced inside the body.” Say, “The bullet tumbled forward and upward.” Like slanted down. All the lesser muscles in my face twitched. I flipped my man over gently, like an impatient lover, careful not to fracture his C-Spine. Dominoes clanked under crusty skin: Clack! Clack! A collapsed face stared up. There was a pink spray in the air, then a brief rainbow. The mandible was stiched with blue threads to the soul. I extracted a tooth from the tongue. He had swallowed the rest.
LINH DINH is the author of a collection of stories, Fake House (Seven Stories Press, 2000), and three chapbooks of poems. He is the editor and translator of Three Vietnamese Poets.