Wednesday, 28 December 2022


by Lorri Ventura

The Mekong River hums 
Happy to host the morning’s floating market
A woman stands tall
In her dilapidated sampan
Sun’s rays dance
Atop her non la hat
Wisps of gray hair wave beneath its cone
She poles deftly
Through a cluster of similar vessels
None look water-worthy
Yet all bob jauntily
Their bows decorated with brightly colored eyeballs
Painted there to ensure a safe homecoming
The woman’s sampan groans
With the weight of baskets made from water hyacinths
Overflowing with freshly-harvested rambutans —-
Red, eyelashed fruits
Vietnamese treasures
Nearby, a boy squats in a sampan laden with chilies and bananas
And a family offers pimply-skinned guavas from a vessel
That wobbles, low and heavy in the river
All nod respectfully as the old woman glides past
She greets no one
Yet blesses everyone she passes
Her skin as silt-colored as the river she commands
The soul of the Mekong shines through her eyes

* * * * *

Lorri Ventura is a retired special education administrator living in Massachusetts. She is new to poetry-writing. Her poems have been featured in several anthologies, in Red Eft Journal, and in Quabbin Quills.
She is a two-time winner of Writing In A Woman's Voice's Moon Prize.

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