Forty years gone, Tommy, so many rains ago

the hulks of abandoned choppers turn red in the heat,

and I have come to take your spirit back with me


The young Vietnamese smile and gawk at my gray hair,

swarm into Uncle Ho’s city on motorbikes

through puddles of stench

for their ration of  Socialist hope


The Hotel Rex, where the war was lost,

gleams cool in marble and granite

At guest information,

a middle aged communist,

hair twisted into tight bun,

asks what I did in the war

and grins


Out of spite, I want to remind her

of the final score,

three million to fifty-eight thousand,

but hold my fire:


I’ve seen the graveyards of Viet Cong martyrs,

the heroines of the Women’s Union

waving red flags with yellow stars


Gondolas lift American tourists up Nui Ba Den

where you lost your face to an RPG

Before we can tour the famous VC tunnels at Cu Chi,

Charlie requires us to watch a 16mm film

of a lone VC scattering Marines with an AK-47,

78 of them, they boast, in less than forty minutes


In stalls along the road,

the inevitable dog and monkey

nip at each other, still at odds,

their masters leering at us from plastic chairs


Nothing left here to fear or mourn

Time, finally, Tommy,

for us to come home