The life my father led on the boats so foreign so full of fury distracts me from my own. I tell him I am tossed and haunted, too, my skin has bruised from errant wood. But of course I haven’t lived it, I can’t understand North and South America and not America his specters of death receding then approaching once again. I misplaced my mother’s glasses. I mistook her shoes for the stray cats leaning against the butcher’s legs. For years I believed my mother didn't love me. War makes angles, flurries of bedside words. She smelled like the absence of the beautiful. No one knows if I’m alive. No one knows the day I died in the fish-seller’s off Hai Ba Trung. They recovered my trousers. They wept at my shoulders. Bad and lonely men abound North and South dismal and full of grace. They buried the bodies one by one and left me glowing to tell a story.
Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.