Vietnam War Poetry

The Poems of Teresa Mei Chuc

FROM KJ 82, Remembering Viet Nam

 
landmine

The Gambler

The metal rod she holds is her wand
the deck is more than 52 cards
her suits: bombs used on both sides of the war—
M14, đap lôi, mìn muôi
she walks in the wild fields seeking the invisible
bringing it to the surface in a strange beauty
of smoke and explosion
the wager is her life or a limb
the shovel, a tongue that lifts the crumbling earth
to reach an unexploded landmine
she spreads out the dirt beneath her hands like cards

[First published in the anthology Mo’ Joe, Beatlick Press, 2014]

 


 

Agent Blue

To kill correctly
takes calculation.

Down to a science.
Arsenic
cacodylic acid.

Know water and rice
on a cellular level.

Make sure
no surviving
seed can be
collected
and planted.

Because even
a small seed
assures
survival.

Because
mortars,
grenades
and bombs
can not destroy
a grain.

Because our
heart is made
of seeds.

Know what it
takes to kill
the seeds.

Know what it
takes to deprive
the plant of water,
to dehydrate it.

To be surrounded
by love but unable
to absorb it.

 
Teresa Mei ChucTeresa Mei Chuc is the author of two poetry books, Red Thread (Fithian Press, 2012) and Keeper of the Winds (FootHills Publishing, 2014). She was born in Saigon and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Viet Nam War while her father remained in a Vietcong “reeducation” camp for nine years. Her poetry appears in journals and in anthologies such as New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press, 2010), With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014), and Mo’ Joe (Beatlick Press, 2014). Teresa’s poetry is forthcoming in the anthology, Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees.

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