Where are you from?*

poetry 0
Tran Tran


A womb sounds like a wound 
in my mouth. A daughter

portends losses. My mother 
carried, in her womb, a wound
without eyes. She grew up 

with no mother, her mạ 
mouthed nightly into ma. 
The opposite of love 

is a ghost that never leaves.
A womb, like a wound, starts with red. 
My mother was bleeding so much 

her doctor advised abortion. 
From her mouth, a daughter
emptied into being. 

* In Vietnamese, mạ means mother, and ma a ghost. This poem follows a 
form I created myself. I draw inspirations from 2 classic poetic forms, the American sonnet and the Vietnamese lục bát. Here are the rules:
- 14 lines; 1 couplet and 4 tercets. 
- Each line contains 6-8 syllables. 
- Each line in the couplet takes turns being repeated (loosely) in the 
middle line of the ensuing tercets.
- Must include at least one non-English word.

Tran Tran writes in the muddle between English and Vietnamese. A graduate in sociology, she has nurtured her poetic voice in the loving embrace of workshops by The Root Slam, Winter Tangerine, Grub Street, and the Speakeasy Project. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ghost City Review and The Seventh Wave.