The Study of A War and Its Consequences

After a presentation by Vietnamese writers, Nguyen Ba Chung,
Bui Dinh Kinh, Nguyen Minh Chuyen, and Tran Nhuong
at the William Joiner Institute, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Gather all the bomb materiel from World War II, collect like eggs in a basket, the iron and magnesium, the tidy packets of white phosphorous and thermite, the steel-nosed, aerodynamic Superflamers, gather it all up, from every nation, and like loaves and fishes, multiply its number, by three as if you had three worlds and three world wars, and then, hurl the whole lot—the three times everything, with cherry napalm on top — on a territory the size of your little sister. The country of villages, water buffalo and rice fields, being green, too green, the Generals order up orange, gobs of orange, to balance the palette and make way for the bombs, to poison the terror, to seep into blood and DNA, to outlive the noise, to ensure suffering from one generation to the next and the next. Then decades after the gathering up, the letting loose, the ruination, sit together in a room, a beige-colored room with blackboards and chalk, on a shining June morning, an ocean breathing against your spit of exceptional land, and listen to witnesses, listen carefully — the translation.

by Contributing Poet:     Mary Buchinger   Copyright © 2015
      ( First published in   The Art of War by Zoetic Press   2015 )

Bio:   Mary Buchinger   author of two books of poetry, Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015) and Roomful of Sparrows (Finishing Line Press, 2008), has poems published in AGNI, DIAGRAM, Ibbetson Street, Nimrod, PANK, Salamander, Slice Magazine, and elsewhere; she was invited to read at the Library of Congress and was awarded the Varoujan and the Houghton Prizes. Buchinger (Bodwell) served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and holds a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Boston University; she is Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University and regularly participates in the Writers Workshop at the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences, which inspired the writing of this poem.

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