Haikus in Hai Phong
Anh-Thu Ngo ‘06

m. knauff


Non-resident Indian Writes Home
by Shampa Sinha GS

Haikus in Hai Phong
Anh-Thu Ngo ‘06

We stop for a night
fearing the whistles of men
too eager for some.

Their own people say
there is reason to lock doors
before dark descends.

The streets are lined with
vendors like any other
but these carry knives.

Or is it a myth
to keep the rogues suspicious
of their own shadows?


m. knauff

her head turned
screaming elsewhere

a tear drops
silent splashes

the impact alive
his eyes intently absent


we, apart

hands in pockets
walking gravel roads

whistling twin tunes

By Shampa Sinha GS

Each time we cross the border
the Jewish woman
next to me on the coach
breaks off from our conversation
about sight-seeing and souvenirs
to shiver slightly
just for a moment
Over the eleven days
spent touring Europe
I have admired photographs
of her grandchildren
exchanged recipes, shared bonbons
An easy friendship
but for the dark history
periodically rising
mountain-high between us
She remembers
and shivers
each European border
a reminder to me too
of the borders within her
I can never cross

by Shampa Sinha GS

The rustle of you
is my earliest memory
with hint of bangle-jangle
and anklet-clink
rainbow membrane of smells
jasmine, incense, fried onions
mapping the daily trajectory
of the soft pupa of the woman
you cocoon within
as a child I clung to you in my sleep
as if to my umbilical cord
only to discover upon wakening
the limp folds of a discarded shell
the butterfly had long softly fled
having stroked my face
with a hand made of wing.

Non-resident Indian Writes Home
by Shampa Sinha GS

Glad to know you are
drinking adulterated milk
(It contains much less fat
than the full-cream variety)
In the West now
Cholesterol is the number one public enemy
I have seriously taken up Hinduism
Levitation, I hear, burns up a lot of calories.

by Shampa Sinha GS

Untranslatable many-shaded anger
how can I explain
I am not “mad” at you
not trying “to pick a fight”
anger is so
easily compartmentalized
in your language
so black and white
one either smashes plates
against the wall
or settles things
over a quiet mature coffee
but this that I feel
has a sweetness to it
like the soft-pouting
of a monsoon sky
with my love for you