In response to Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ’s Bomb Crater Sky.
Dad served two tours in the war,
a media circus of Ohio hippies and
escapes from Saigon via helicopter
Lit by the fireworks on the nightly news,
gilded in the blood of the conscripts,
photographed by Leica.
Building roads as a Seabee,
cleaning the mud caked on his boots with gasoline
The kids around the airfield
would bring active landmines
Held tight like teddy bears to their chests
Goofy grins on their toothless mouths
Knowing the GIs would give them chocolate
Your anxious, wakeful sky
sends shivers down my spine
My footfalls want to echo your restraint,
Tuned to a radio station only we can hear
Dad's diabetes eats away at his vision,
Takes away his license to live
My ateh said the diabetes was aggravated
by his exposure to Agent Orange
'Cause he served under the man
who first deployed it.
I love the smell of napalm in the morning,
A day you will never see,
Inside your earthen crater.