In Ca Mau the women
sweep the canal with their oars
on the way to the floating fruit market
bananas
pineapples
grapelets with husks stacked in slender sampans

The Americans in Ca Mau eat tin- skinned food
play prostitute roulette
clap
syph
rigid love with rifles under the bed

The people race bicycles on Sundays
children play soccer on the parade ground
pigs walk the streets alone but
GIs ride 6 to a fast jeep

In the forest of U Minh
500 pound bombs fall 5 miles
and shake the yellow palm- thatched huts
and the yellowed stucco houses
and the yellow tent O Club in Ca Mau

Soldiers hunt communist water buffalo
with quad .50s and infra- red
they scream howitzers at suspicious rice
but one bullet
makes a helicopter a shotgunned duck
one rocket trips the man- blind radar
off its legs and the Americans leave
and the women sweep after them


From Vietnam Generation Journal, Volume 4, Number 3-4, November 1992

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