Anna Suszynski

When I was away 

my momma grew her horse hair

until it fell to her hip in silver strings. 

She has hair the color of charred 

vegetables with licks of glint 

from river water. She hoofs it in 

and out of the studio.

Her hair 

like tumbleweeds that topple in brittle 

triangulation. It will not crack and break, 

it splits before it ends

Rather—it shutters in and out as lungs

when I hug her hello. 


I live in this shit swamp 

Outside Ho Chi Minh City

Order crabs with chemical compounds 

Encased in neon shells.   


There is a sludge river 

A man lives there in the bank

Collecting scrub that floats and shrimp

For tea time on plastic stools.


My olive skin is not quite the 

Right shade 

I collect stares and deposit them to 

The goldfish lady who has tied them

To a motorbike. 


To the Noodle Man

You are my God in this polluted 


I eat your bun thit nuong ga until 

My stomach hurts—

I order one more bowl for a trudge home. 


I carry a fish 

Up the mountain—

The fish is as big as a small child

And it cries softly until it sees the waterfall. 


There are red peppers growing at the 

Bottom of a pool and two monks

Smoke cigs at the top, 

I dare them to watch me change in the brush

As my skin turns salt and slick

We roll off the moss together into the deep. 


In the pool, my fish darts figure-eights 

I open my eyes under water and it whispers

Of ancient generals and castigated arteries 

Telling me to be silent 

Until I return it to the low tide 

Connecting its ventricles back to the 

Ocean floor. 

Anna Suszynski graduated from Colorado College in 2016 with a degree in English, Creative Writing track. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado but moves spontaneously. She is the poetry editor for F(r)iction