Lychee Season

In this my 18th incarnation, I
am reed thin, wedging
cotton between the sun-
burned toes of a college
girl just out of flip flops
or painting a fuchsia
lacquer on the nails of
a sallow woman
with blue burning
eyes       : Laos
is far away but if you dare
ask me about the scar across
my face I would remember
my father, would remember
Laos, burning my lips
on the lychee each season
a machete to the trees, my mother

pointing at the entry to
tunnels oranged where
my father, my uncle, my grand-

father died. I smile at you
taste a small Clementine
at night, light the joss stick
my scar winking; lychee memory
lychee green, then red, white
at its center like the crescent
that hacked me /   split
the lychee rind / split my
inchoate Mekong
Delta in two.

Amy Pence authored the poetry collections Armor, Amour and The Decadent Lovely. She recently won the Claire Keyes Poetry Award from the literary journal Soundings East. In addition to poetry, she’s also published interviews, reviews, and essays in The Rumpus, The Conversant, Colorado Review, Poets & Writers and The Writer’s Chronicle, among others. She teaches in Atlanta, Georgia, and lives in Carrollton.