During June in Vietnam, lotuses are harvested—taller
than a person, pale green stems, bumpy pods.
In sunlight, shoots flash like wheat  

tinged with crimson, & in moonlit rays they swirl
jade.  From above, the leaf hats of women
who bind the stems glow like golden  

orbs in the curves of the plants, winding like rough
snakes on river, their heads spiked electric
pink.  From a basket boat,  

a girl plucks a sheaf from water, smiling at the splash
made amid the sky-laden river punctuated
with the green gleam of umbrella  

leaves.  From the effort of kneel & bend, probe & pull
come tea & Goi & a wrap for rice, petals
the color of myoga rising  

from our olive & nightingale-brown pond, always
reminding us to look up
& drink deep.                                    

~inspired by the photographs of Pham Trung Huy