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I haven't seen my father in three years. But with my writer's block and looming deadline, he's come to visit at the worst possible time

By Nam Le   September 2008

My father arrived on a rainy morning. I was dreaming about a poem, the dull thluck thluck of a typewriter’s keys punching out the letters. It was a good poem—perhaps the best I’d ever written. When I woke, he was standing outside my bedroom door, smiling ambiguously. Still groggy with dream, I lifted my face toward the alarm clock.

“What time is it?”

“Hello, Son,” he said in Vietnamese. “I knocked for a long time. Then the door just opened.”

The fields are glass, I thought. Then tum-ti-ti, a dactyl, end line, then the words excuse and alloy in…

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