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Scars by Truing Tran


by Truing Tran

(published in North Dakota Quarterly, Summer 1993)

My father’s body is a map,

a record of his journey.

He carries a bullet

lodged in his left thigh.

There is a hollow where it entered,

a protruding bump where it sleeps.

The doctors say it will never awaken.

It is the one souvenir he insists on keeping

from a past still holding us prisoners.

Mother has her own opinions.

Bô cūa con ‘diên—Your father is crazy.

As a child,

I wanted a scar just like my father’s

bold and appalling a mushroom explosion

that said, I too was at war.

Instead I settled for a grain of rice.

A scar so small, look closely there,

here between the eyes,

a bit to the right,

there on the bridge of my nose.

Father says I was too young to remember.

It happened while I was sleeping;

a leaking roof, the pounding of rain

drop after drop after drop.

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