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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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APRIL 2020 Issue
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from A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure


  yes a famous mise-en-scene
“when I was just a little girl”

angle looks too much like angel
   and vice a versa

    what lies ahead

  who cares

scatter the song
clavichord it

  the future’s not ours
to see  tenderly


sonnet tied to the sky
struck by lightning
in that one film version
of Frankenstein who
was it that feared
the storm and lightning

myth and history twist
exile into a tower structure
also called “mouth”
that feeling of headlong
the site of mother
my longing in language

see my eyes rubies red I feed
on toxic flowers kiss one
or any flower rise clean from
mud water row a petal boat
absurd longing to sing the sun
to exist and live an island of


Made by the dead puppeteer the rings
found them it seemed Dry papery magenta

flowers of the wild bougainvillea

Multiple ghosts jab your throat thorns
in the uninterrupted kitchen dream

They could see it was perfect so their prophecy

was fulfilled so the lung smothered dies
so they wrote down their dreams

Their way made unpassable so fall through

worlds dashing the red gourd
        of light on the way


Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen’s books include Red Juice: Poems 1998–2008 (Wave Books, 2014), Violet Energy Ingots (Wave Books, 2016) and A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (April 2021, Wave Books). Hoa teaches poetics for Miami University’s low residency MFA program, the Milton Avery School for Fine Arts at Bard College, and in a popular, long-running poetics workshop she leads from cyberspace and Toronto.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

All Issues