(this is one I wrote a few months ago)
Nights, when the rain falls like bullets
and lightning shocks the ground with bomb-white flashes,
the heads in my basement talk to me.
My grandfather tells me I'm such a good girl.
My mother asks if I want rice.
My grandmother offers to brush my hair.
My father grunts in his sleep.
They speak for hours about the old days;
days before Ho Chi Minh lifted his fist.
Before the French. Before the Americans.
Days when our land rose in green stair-steps
to kiss the morning heat, and flowers
formed a rainbow along the jungle's edge.
My brother yanked their bleeding heads
off the posts surrounding our slaughtered village,
ears sheared clean for the Americans' belts.
He and I had been sent searching for roots.
I brought them here, well hidden,
even from my G.I. husband, the man
I seduced, married, and ultimately killed,
the man whose house I still inhabit.
Blood taken for blood given.
He never knew I killed many before him
during my days first as orphan, then bar girl.
My looks saved me.
I'm still beautiful, though silver weaves through
my hair like tears.
Tears for our trampled rice paddys.
Tears for our streams bubbling with blood.
Tears for the slain water buffalo and barren trees
leaning into a sky burned orange by Napalm.
Tears, too, for lost innocence and
hands that will never again wash clean.