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  The Children's Tet
Crowds so thick on Tran Hung Dao
they pass bicycles over their heads
to get close to the student troupe
acting the old story.
The figure in black unmasked,
the dragon slain, fireworks
light up the river,
traffic moves again.
Tonight the children rule.
In torch-lit packs
hunch-backed dragons
snake down streets,
chasing drums follow.
Who is head or tail
will change as they charge
into shops straight up
into the world of their elders.
Parents watch, not yet sure to
be afraid.
One boy's eyes search the crowd,
he beats his chest in confusion, lost,
but tonight he has no need for worry,
tonight the city is filled with dragons.
      -- Kevin Bowen

River Music
One by one the lanterns
swim off down river.
A green one first, then red
and yellow. Each one calls
back a friend. Like dancers
they turn in circles.
One for my wife, one for my son,
one for our new child in spring.
Back and forth they swing
in twos and threes, seeking
ever newer combinations.
We drink rice liquor, toast
ten reasons men fall
in love on the river.
The old men smile into their
instruments.
A woman sings, such beauty
even the moon might die
on her shoulder.
      -- Kevin Bowen



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