— Vuong Quoc Vu
My brother told a ghost story—
He came in from the night
and woke up the family,
he said he had just seen a ghost
outside of the city’s cemetery,
a woman in a white dress.
standing along a dark road—
He decided to drive her home.
As he drove closer, he saw the face,
the empty sockets, the deep holes
where her eyes should have been,
and he saw the white bone of her face,
teeth like the pearls of a necklace.
He drove away fast, his body still
shivering and cold as he told us
his ghost story. We gathered around him,
my mother made soup, wrapped
a blanket around him while he ate.
Years later when we buried a brother
in that same cemetery, we mentioned
the story, how he was now buried
among the wandering ghosts of that place,
and my brother, the one who told the story,
said there was no ghost at all that night,
no woman in white along the dark road,
but he woke us because he was afraid
of something deep in the dark that night—
something on that empty road, in that rain,
in that cold cemetery.