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Friday, September 17, 2010

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Harriet--Richmond








Harriet, 64 years old. What a beautiful, beautiful lady. Transplanted New Yorker, Harriet was a home care nurse for most of her life, until one of her arms went weak, until she got old herself. She's been married to the same man for 39 years, she told me proudly. Her husband is 76 years old. "And I will take care of him until the end," she said. "He won't be in any nursing home." Though Jewish, she got married in a church because her husband was Irish. "At the ceremony, the priest told me I should wear my Star of David inside my dress, and I had on a white dress because I was a virgin. I said, 'I'll wear this inside my dress if you remove that cross from the wall, behind you.'" Harriet's first love was a man half Filipino, half Cambodian. The day before the wedding, he revealed that he had a son. He also said, very sternly, that should anything happen to him, everything will go to this son. Harriet told him to shove it.

Harriet and her current husband were trying to go from New York to Florida when they ran out of money in Richmond. They had also been homeless. Now she works in a thrift store.





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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This really makes me want to weep.

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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.