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For Mrs. Na

ISSUE:  Spring 1987
Cu Chi District
28 December 1985

I always told myself,
if I ever got the chance to go back,
I’d never say “I’m sorry”
to anyone. Christ,

those guys I saw on television once:
sitting in Hanoi, the cameras rolling,
crying, blubbering
all over the place. Sure,

I’m sorry. I never meant
to do the things I did.
But that was nearly twenty years ago:
enough’s enough.

If I ever go back,
I always told myself,
I’ll hold my head steady
and look them in the eye.

But here I am at last—
and here you are.
And you lost five sons in the war.
And you haven’t any left.

And I’m staring at my hands
and eating tears,
trying to think of something else to say
besides “I’m sorry.”


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