VIETNAM WAR POETRY

        NEW Vietnam War Poetry from a Contributing Poet - VietnamWarPoetry.com		2-4-17
  Fermentation

                        Rest and recuperation, relaxation, recreation
                        whatever it was called it, allowed him to leave
                        the explosions of green mangoes crashing cluster
                        bombed from trees, allowed him time to make love
                        to her day and night in the safety of the dense
                        tropical scrub at the edge of the jungle

                        just before he left, which he had promised he wouldn't
                        she made him snake wine, a freshly killed cobra coiled
                        and upended in a green-glass jar, poured over with rice
                        wine, ginseng, shaved roots and crushed herbs, a lid
                        screwed on tight, to ensure fermentation

                        she gave him the heart of the snake to swallow live
                        about the size of his thumb, he can still feel it, if he thinks
                        about it, which he tries not to, can only imagine
                        the waterapple sour, overripe yet persimmon astringent taste
                        of the snake wine he never got to drink, the woman
                        he lived with as wife but never got around to marrying

                        doesn't want to remember what happened over there
                        but when he does, and the memories of her come
                        pretending have some part in their dying retreat, he can still
                        feel the living heart, the way it slid way down his throat
                        bumping along, still beating, slithering to settle in his gut
                        he doesn't think about it, but his body knows it is there
                        fermenting, not into wine, but bile.

by Contributing Poet:     Eileen Malone   Copyright 2016
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2017 )


        NEW Vietnam War Poetry from a Contributing Poet - VietnamWarPoetry.com		2-4-17
  Gone

                        She kneels in love on a patch of earth
                        before all that remains of the statue of Lord Buddha

                        earlier, on a sandbar, she carried her grandchildren
                        tied on their palm leaf hats, fed them pickles and rice
                        pointed when a buffalo calf chased a broken reed

                        their laughs flew over banana groves and bamboo thickets
                        like starlings flying a black bridge across blue waves of sky
                        that suddenly bloomed dark with flarebombs
                        then gone

                        the guava tree, the fragrance of ripe mangoes
                        what she taught the children
                        about honoring even the withered grass on tombs
                        gone

                        she kneels in love on a patch of earth
                        before all that remains of the statue of Lord Buddha
                        does not ask for what she knows she wants
                        cannot ask, instead she asks to be taken

                        nearby small boats carry bright red clay pots and pans
                        behind bigger ones carrying vats of fish sauce
                        perhaps to a place that she has never been
                        she prays that she will find herself there
                        soon.

by Contributing Poet:     Eileen Malone   Copyright 2016
      ( First published in   VietnamWarPoetry.com   2017 )


        NEW Vietnam War Poetry from a Contributing Poet - VietnamWarPoetry.com		2-4-17
Bio:   Eileen Malone's  poetry has appeared in over 500 literary journals and anthologies, three of which have been Pushcart nominations. Her book-length collection I Should Have Given Them Water was published by Ragged Sky Press (Princeton) and her award winning chapbook Letters with Taloned Claws was published by Poets Corner Press (Sacramento). She lives in the coastal fog at the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area.

These poems came to her by way of stories told to her by a Vietnamese manicurist.


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