«Fish Sauce And Flowers»

In my mother’s kitchen, fish sauce and flowers sweetly fragrant,
the aroma of free schools of ocean fish
who swim to the vase of roses, still soaked with morning dew.

My mother cooks for me with the aroma
of freedom and the freshness of beauty;
slices of fragrance woven from her chopsticks,

and each slide offers to become a world
from my mother’s own slim hand.

© Nguyen Phan Que Mai, translated by Bruce Weigl

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