The village girl
North Vietnam, March 2, 1965: United States Armed Forces began Operation Rolling Thunder, a bombing campaign meant to stop the Communist flow of supplies and soldiers into South Vietnam. It was largely a failure and resulted in thousands of civilian casualties.
She carried the debris for want of souvenir.
Followed the trail to where her knees kissed
dead grass and the dirt tried to claim her. All
around, her neighbors danced, children moved
from breakfast rice to limbo, their perfect noses
to the sky. What excitement! What feverish
change! She watched the boys toy with guns and
country. Somewhere, someone was waiting for her
to blossom into first blood. But she looked so soft
dressed in charcoal-scented light, she seemed more
smoke than girl. More party favor than refugee. Her
throat shook with French fervor when she sang. And
when she flew, her bones sprinkled the village sweet.