Fish Sauce

By Jules Phan


The fish are dying.

Clusters of protruding bellies

glistening in the harsh sunlight;

pale stripes tessellating the cold coastline

like tuna packed in a well-expired can –

oozing with rottenness.


The fish are still dying.

The fishermen know;

the conmen know;

the government knows;  

yet after detailed research

from the country’s most elite,

“Nothing was found to have

poisoned the fish.”


The fish continue to die;

it was reported


mere apologies and empty promises

were brought forward by the company at fault;

no further reports were made.


The fish are left to die;

their tears

reflected in every Vietnamese’s

fish sauce.