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Teresa Mei Chuc

Con Son

“She’s become insane . . . unable to sleep for fifteen days, believing herself to be a
pampered dog that could only eat bread and milk. Not being given these, she refused
to eat and became so weak she couldn’t talk. When the wind blew she wanted to fly.”
-Father Chan Tin, Vietnamese Catholic priest

Even tigers in cages
are not shackled like this.
Burning lime poured over
their heads through the steel
bars above them. Above,
the footsteps, the waiting pail,
the long sticks used to poke and beat
the emaciated and festering bodies.
Bodies missing three fingers, bodies
with skull slightly split open.
Yearning for the lush green forests
of their childhoods and the blue,
blue sky where bodies are falling
from helicopters.

 

 

Depleted Uranium

The water runs
a neon color
in the village

all the villagers
know why
the babies

are born dead
and deformed

others say
there is no
proof it was
the war

sometimes
truth can
only be
understood

the father carries
the little body
wrapped in a
blanket

she will be buried
with a wooden
grave marker
her name
inscribed
with a knife

there are coffins
that are only
six inches long

if you place
your hand
in there
it will fit

 

click to read moreTeresa Mei Chuc was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War. She is the author of Red Thread: Poems (2012) and Year of the Hare (2013). Nominated for a Pushcart Prize for “Truth is Black Rubber,” a section of poems from Red Thread, Teresa Mei Chuc is a graduate of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, and teaches literature and writing at a public school. Her poems appear in journals including EarthSpeak Magazine, the National Poetry Review, Rattle, and Verse Daily. An avid reader of Russian literature and poetry, Teresa has studied the Russian language for over 15 years and in her spare time, translates her favorite poems.

 

Image courtesy of www.tue-wai.com