How to View Your First Dead Body

When you are told that you will be visiting a mausoleum

Specifically the one of a questionably celibate Vietnamese communist leader

Do not think twice

Hanoi is Vietnam’s D.C

The mausoleum is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Do not question your guide when he tells you

Bring your camera and bags

Do not question the guards when he tells you

All are prohibited

Leave your cash, ID, camera, and voice with your guide

All are prohibited

They will wake the resting leader

Do not shiver when you step into the stone

Tell yourself

It just seems cold because

The heat index outside is come celsius degree

That only means hot to you

Ignore the thought that the temperate seems to be

More for the dead than for the living

Ignore all the signs that say

There is a preserved body in the next room

Tell yourself

He will be under stone

When you turn the corner

Do not meet eyes with Ho Chi Minh

When you hyperventilate

Do not meet eyes with the guards

Avoid their bayonets

You do not want to share a coffin

With a man who has been preserved

40 years too long

When your legs go numb

Stiff like the ones you have come to revere

Do not grab the mourner next to you

Sexual advances are not to be viewed

By celibate Uncle Ho

Focus on the stone wall

Try not to think about the hammer and sickle engraved on the wall

Try not to think about the boy engraved on your fovea

Try not to think about Ho Chi Minh

Was on the other side of your first

Face-to-face encounter

With a dead body


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