Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Image of Phuc


Screams on a silent roadway
Brush strokes of red flames searing the sky
Hissing moldering ashes once called homes
Crackle like crushed crickets to the ground
Background soldiers peering lackadaisically at immolation
Without dismay
Lighting cigarettes
Cradling their rifles like suckling infants

She bellows
At the indignity of her clothes
Evaporating in bits of charred cloth and flesh
Trailing behind her--
At her adolescent body aflame,
Of relentless pain
Neurons and dendrites screaming
Thin arms tattooing a desperate dispatch
In a photograph that sealed her in the prison of memory
A hollow O forming her Munchlike face

That photograph rests on kitchen tables
Saddening some munching their toast and jam
Sipping their morning coffees, looking at her naked body
Gratifying others who proclaim it bosh
Pleased that the gooks were suffering

Ice-cream scooped soul torn from the photograph
Vanilla survivor
Takes spider-net building licks at the dripping cone
Only thinking of happiness without hatred
As she runs her fingers over her scarred flesh.

--Sy Roth


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