Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Phuong Thao Le

Dear Brother

As soon as you arrived
Mother gave you wonderful clothing,
a suit of skin containing flesh, bones
liver, lungs, heart.... (everything
that was called your body.)
It grew up as you grew and
depending on it, you crawled, stood,
ran, and played
As a little boy in elementary school,
you learned your lessons.
As a student in college,
you were ready to sacrifice
your youth to fight against oppression.
You became a doctor of medicine,
for years curing people of disease, for free
if they were poor.
When the Communists took over
the south of Vietnam,
everyone needed your help,
I cannot remember enough
of your good deeds!
When you were lying in bed,
exhausted from fighting your own illness,
you still helped, telling your
brother to protect himself,
giving your wife driving directions
over the cell phone.
You told us you regretted drinking
and smoking, you knew these habits
made your illnesses worse.
Now your body, the fine clothing
your mother gave you, is all ruffled up,
heart, lungs, liver, bones, intestines,
torn and dirty.
Time to change to another suit,
to let go of pain and
shadows of the past.
Begin a new journey
in a brand new suit.


BIO: I was born and grew up in the center of Viet Nam. At LBCC, I took classes from the beginning to higher level (ESL classes to English 1, 3 and so on to go to English 27). I've attended Professor Gaspar's classes semester after semester. I like to participate in any poetry or novel activity so that I can learn more to shorten the gap between my American friends and me.