From the Air
Helicopter fan-blades whirl them up
in a cloud of dust, soldiers rise above the jungle
as they move upward into clean air,
beyond the smell of mortars and death.
My brother sees mountains, trees, deltas and rivers,
he observes a beautiful land in spite of war.
He tells of rice paddies perfectly laid out
in geometric patterns, with farmers,
water buffalo and simple wooden plows
making quilts of sustenance below.
The aerial jungle is postcard pretty,
except for bomb craters that pock the landscape.
Sun lights up an array of greens, gives an aura of peace.
Fifty years later, I talk with a veteran
who went back to Vietnam, said he found
no evidence of Americans or GIs,
the sound of chopper blades gone.
He visited a museum in the city where
a Vietnamese placard tells how American soldiers ruined
their country back then, killing the land and its people.