--for the Vietnamese people and the American Viet Nam Veterans
by Michael H. Brownstein
When I gather my strength and walk down a row
into my field where nothing can grow
(except concrete and gravel and a few hardy weeds),
I bend in surprise to find a half dozen seeds.
I pick them up gently and find them each a pot,
nurture them carefully hoping to fill the empty spots,
but my field has too many due to chemical scorch
and my field has too many because of war’s torch.
Earth tries to heal, but it cannot succeed,
the topsoil it makes is topsoil that bleeds,
and dead space creates dead space, everything dust,
my field, my people, dying slowly, land into rust.