Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Laotian Summer Afternoon - A Poem

A Laotian Summer Afternoon

It happened while he was working, tending to
the crops under a hot, bright midday sun.

for a moment, it was as if he had been transported
back to the days when he, as a little boy, fled fast
through the fields with the others in his family.

looking up, half blinded, he expected to see
the familiar American planes flying overhead,

instead, only the sound of his son
screaming somewhere near the point
where the river spits across the strip of land.

as before, he began to run as hard as he possibly could,
forgetting everything else out of fear

when he got there, to the place where it had happened,
the raggedness of his breath was matched
only by the bodies of his son’s two best friends,

both just barely having turned ten years old,
and yet already well versed in the work

of collecting scrap, supporting the family,
staving off the growling of the stomach
one basket of metal at a time.

he remembered how meticulous he had been,
how he had repeatedly nagged his eldest son

about the details of the harvesting process,
how any old thing sticking out of the ground
might be worth a basket of rice,

a few dozen eggs, or it might just be
the last thing you ever see

but none of that mattered now,
only the slow footsteps back through the field
careful not to disturb too much

what already had broke through the surface,
and stained red the summer sky.

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Creative Writing the Dharma by nathan thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at creativedharma.blogspot.com.