Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Black Lady Mountain

The black stone of Nui Ba Den rises above rice paddies
and thin farmers toiling beneath cone-shaped straw hats
as they herd oxen over dirt and bone dust
surrounding green rectangles and reflecting pools.

At night the full moon sits atop the peak,
staring at grass and water like the silver eye of a carp.
Underneath the muddy Mekong is a broken helicopter blade,
a sword beaten into a ploughshare a few miles

from the tattered threads of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
A gentle wind combs the water and the rice weed,
summoning forth the moaning of long-forgotten ghosts.
It is unclear whether they are crying or finally making love.

~William Hammett

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