Sài Gòn, 1985

“The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, and the evacuation of more than 130,000 Vietnamese closely associated with the United States or the South Vietnamese regime began.”

The boat is made from salvaged
wood, withered nails, rusted
sunlight. People are stacked in rows,
cargo, single-file. Your brother is
crouched next to you, yet there
is only the rustle of wind over empty
sea, hollow tides of the body. Cracks
in the hull let water seep in, the water
a murky brown, tinged with blood.
You spread it around the soles
of your feet to wash the dirt away.
Everywhere the ropes have knots.
What does the sky look like, mother?
Always raining very blue, you say,
in your broken English, and I think
I see it.