Viet Nan Auntie
Bernadine LortisYou´ve seen her form so often
in magazines, papers, on T.V.
you may feel you know her
bending to plant frail shoots
before pale gray-blue mountains,
the greenest land surrounding her,
one of hundreds who have been bending
for years in rhythmic, automatic reflex
that keeps her dipping, rising, dipping
as if an invisible puppeteer
directs his strings and her momentum.
She has bent so long she is bent forever.
Her heart beats red as it touches her knees—
each kernel of rice, a blessing from Buddha.
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