Lao Country

The midnight hour,

opens up a canopy of stars,

illuminating the golden palace gates.

 

Creating an ethereal appearance,

the full moon submerges riverbanks,

ancient temples, local schools,

the bombed out remnants of things remembered,

torn apart by man and machine.

 

The countryside consists of private labyrinths,

jungle, valleys, streams and mountains,

military plants, waterfalls, corrugated steel bridges.

 

A woven tapestry,

of forest greenery,

a map of makeshift graves, each bear the name and regiment,

of noble sacrifice through active duty.

Sharp, rugged mountain faces

dip and peak, quilted by

thick, evasive, misty fog,

where many lie

in eternal peace.

 

Carved Komodo dragons,

jealously guard the palace garden,

fixing their steely gaze upon the villagers.

Under archways, they put down their books,

pushing through the thorny hedgerows

to place their flowers on random tombstones.

 

A shape-shifting sea of buzz cuts crouch,

waist deep in rising water. Khaki fatigues

are caked in blood, sweat and mud.

Cowering under the blades of F-4 phantoms,

bullets ricochet between the rival factions

of North and South.

Rich plumes of smoke cover rice fields,

dropping deadly agent on man and produce.

 

You never forget

the night time terrors,

ghostly outlines of doe-eyed mothers

spread-eagled across the landscape.

 

I pledge allegiance to my country,

risking health and precious sanity.

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