Tears of Quang Tri by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

AFTER THE LAST American soldiers

had left Vietnam

and grass had grown

scars onto bomb craters,

I took some foreign friends to Quảng Trị,

once a fierce battlefield.


I was too young for the war

to crawl under my skin

so when I sat with my friends

at a roadside café, sipping tea,

enjoying the now-green landscape,

I didn’t know how to react

when a starkly naked

woman rushed towards us, howling.




Read this poem in full in Let me Tell You a Story and hear Que Mai’s own narration by scanning a QR code on the page. Available from Lulu and Amazon.

Nguyen Phan Que Mai delivered the International Women’s Day poem at the 2016 UN event.