Selected by Bunkong Tuon, Poetry Editor

Teresa Mei Chuc: Four Poems


People who live in regions
of monsoons know that everything
you build is transitory

Palm and bamboo huts on stilts
could be washed away
and broken by a wave

So they build knowing
how many times they must rebuild


Ace of Spades

Việt Nam War

There were 1,000 Ace of Spades cards pulled from the production line
by the U.S. card company and shipped overseas at no cost for American soldiers to use.

Decks of pure 52 Ace of Spades cards were produced. A Death Deck.
Mothers sent them to their sons.

An Ace of Spades card was left on the forehead of a Vietnamese person killed.
U.S. military tactic to instill fear in the people fighting to defend their homeland.

It is time to show our hands.


The Two-Headed Fish

that the poor Vietnamese family
eats or they will starve,

haunts me.
It floats in the air
like some kind of monster
in the night while I sleep.

Decades after the war,
Agent Orange
is still transforming
the genetics of the fish
in our rivers.


cuống rốn

umbilical cord

my mother says
that my umbilical cord
was given to the land

buried in Việt Nam
part of me a part of the earth
there forever


cover of Red Thread by Teresa Mei Chuc
Red Thread by Teresa Mei Chuc

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