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Noon Gate

By John I. Blair

While we were talking,
The doctor,
A gray and kindly man
Of diminutive physique
And Asian eyes,
Joked and pantomimed
How he had frightened fishing birds
From the office pond,
Flapping his white lab coat
Like an angry stork.

In the scanning room,
Hemmed by machines
For densitometry, joint
Exams, disease analysis,
Hung a small framed print.

I could see it showed
Part of a palace in Hue
Before the war
In front a lily-dotted moat,
Then a massive wall,
A balustrade, another wall,
And floating over all
Two tiers of graceful galleries,
Topped by clay-tile roofs.

Later, looking on the Net,
I learned this was the Noon Gate,
Door to the forbidden heart
Of imperial Vietnam.

That night I dreamed
Of a little boy,
Arms flung wide,
Racing beside a moat rim,
Guarding golden koi.

2008 John I. Blair

Bottom of Page: Portrait of the Noon Gate,
supplied by John I. Blair.


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