Mudlark No. 55 (2014)

The Unspoken

Scent of guts fermenting at the fish sauce factory, 
sun-weathered women in conical hats, peddling 
grilled pork wrapped in waxy banana leaves 
and coconut candies sticky-white as semen. 
Still, neither of us wanted to say, here, anything 
is possible, when youths across the western border, 
wearing tire-treads for sandals, marched their genial 
neighbors into a field and bludgeoned their skulls with shovels. 
And in the delta, four-star generals convinced themselves 
a war would be won by igniting thatched-hut villages 
and the use of aerial pesticide sprays to defoliate jungles. 
We ate frog, then cobra, then conch, then squid. We swam out
into the dusk-light and left Phu Quoc without a trace. 
No photograph, postcard, no bracelet of small white seashells. 
Your father would never know you were here. 
We let the starfish live.

Peter Marcus | Harvest Blackbirds
Contents | Mudlark No. 55 (2014)