from "Cage"

Hoi An Eggs.jpg

I discover them a few stalls down from the white ducks huddled in a spot of shade behind a tarp, past the speckled eels circling a blue plastic tub in a few inches of water—the sparse amenities of the doomed. The market runs along one side of a street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, several blocks of vendors under tin roofs. Across the street stand more permanent buildings: a narrow café open to the sidewalk, where men sit on foot-high red plastic chairs reading the newspaper; a temple flanked by two shops selling coffins and funeral wreaths. On the market side, nestled next to an aquaria merchant with tropical fish swimming in jars and luminous artificial plants displayed on a plank like a festive centerpiece, the cages teeter in towers, tremulous wire and bamboo. Some hang from the corrugated tin roof, skeletal bells with swing clappers—the birds inside ringing.  Some catch the morning light on their thin bars, scattering sun.