Excerpt from "Le Loup et le Chien" by Barbara Tran

My Ba was a very handsome man. In my parents’ wedding photos, taken in front of Notre-Dame in Sài Gòn, he stands tall in a white jacket, black tie. His crow-black hair is swept into a pompadour. He is lithe, with muscular shoulders. My mother, though she barely knows him at this point, wears the look of a woman who, at long last, knows the security of being wrapped in someone’s arms.

From as far back as I can remember, Ba told stories. Frequently, the stories he told involved animals. One of his favourites, a story he told repeatedly, was about a wolf and a dog. Before he would begin telling, Ba would call our German Shepherd, King, to his side (if King wasn’t already there, which he usually was). Ba would scratch King and tell him he should pay no heed to the story, that King was living in a time with its own set of circumstances. Then Ba would begin: “There once was a dog …”




From The Malahat Review's winter issue #221