My Lai

Carl Boon


Father held the magazine
high enough we couldn’t see,
but we’d heard the word
at dinner conversation
when it came out quietly,
when it came out wanting
to escape, a clump.
And we said to each other
in the bedroom, Henry Aaron’s
face on a poster, Clint Eastwood’s
on the other wall, that was
human flesh they whispered of
my brother was sure,
a clump of bodies,
a clump of babies maybe
dead in Vietnam. In my dreams
for years I watched as if entranced
that clump become a mountain
and we, my brother and I,
underneath and screaming,
unable to breathe.
But I woke up every time
in Illinois, corn instead of rice,
fireworks booming on the 4th
and Molly with braids and braces
calling us for a game of Life.

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1


Boon photo


CARL BOON lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, including The Maine Review and Posit. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Boon is currently editing a volume on food in American literature.