After the Accidental Bombing at Bac Mai Hospital, Hanoi

The Communist professor of cardiology,

jolly and welcoming as he is,

becomes philosopher as he thinks back,

believing to this day there’s much virtue

in being short

 

After the ringing in his ears subsided,

in the silence and numbness

that follows flash and explosion,

sprawled on the floor

he smelled cement

and the breath of the bomb

 

He felt his hair, his forehead,

nose and jaw all there

Where then had it come from,

the hair, blood and brain matter,

splattered, sticking to his white coat?

 

At that moment, no one had yet cried out,

moaned or sobbed

His legs felt too heavy to move,

the vault to memory locked shut

 

For an indeterminate amount of time

he pulled at its latch, pulled at it, pulled at it,

puzzled its combination until, suddenly,

it sprung open of its own accord

 

Ah yes, that was it, the conversation they were having,

the short Dr. Kai and the tall Dr. Nguyen,

his head perfectly framed in the open window

 

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