Archive: Sleepless in Thăng Long


The ceiling fan churns heavy air.
I lie awake, on sweat-slicked sheets. 

Insects tangle above my head, 
jostling vampiric mopeds at rush hour,
rebounding single-mindedly off mosquito netting,
seeking shortcuts to my blood.

Legend has it
that three sweet, sweet bites
will restore them to their human form.

But when an enterprising bloodsucker
succeeds in breaching my mosquito defences,
he usually doesn’t stop at three.
There’s good bite in this bottom,
and too few other humans in this bed.
So I tend to doubt this tale.

Tomorrow it is Sunday,
so the man upstairs will be hammering tiles
into his floor, my ceiling.
Renovation, installation or fetish?
He starts with the roosters
and doesn’t stop until I am raggedly awake, 
crowing with weary resentment.

The sky tears
and clatters on tin sheet roofing.
The air cools
and, at last, I sleep, with the city coiled around me.
Somewhere, in my dreams,
I can feel it exhale.

Busy Hanoi Streets

The city that never lets you sleep (By Jrwooley6 – Flickr: The Busy Hanoi Streets)

From here on January 29th 2012.