The Vietnamese - American Poetic Spirit


by Thong Ba Le

(Memory of Vietnam War)

They removed the soldier’s dog tag on that rainy day.
The camouflage-uniformed people then took him away,
throwing the helmet that rolled into a mortar trench
stopped, upside-down, battered and gray.

The helmet knew that he had failed to protect
his soldier who was killed by a bullet
that made the unevenly shaped hole,
in the right side of the helmet.

He felt too cold in his wintry soul.
There was nobody here so the story could be told,
aside from a friendly frog who hopped in
and sat looking at the morning sun.

Then a garden snake who lost her way
and slithered by him through the hole.
Every night he stared at the dark sky,
Each time he saw a shooting star, he cried.

Somewhere there were young soldiers,
like his man, being killed.
And the war kept going on.
And the warriors continued to die.

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