by Annette Langlois Grunseth
The Vietnam Conflict, (really, a war)
was over in 1975, but never over for you
carrying a thousand secrets within.
Flashbacks like an immoral movie played in your sleep,
a non-stop nosebleed prompted tests,
your blood work, off the charts.
Fifteen years of cancer cells tunneling
like a search and destroy mission,
sweeping the delta of your thickening blood.
What scraps of Agent Orange
kept hiding and dividing inside you,
your jungle of sick, thick.
T-cells mutating, attacking,
finally the brain is seized,
cells multiply and misfire.
The wires of memory and motor
function tangle and tumble,
doctors puzzled how to treat this invasion.
You are a casualty of living,
filled with fragments of Nam
as the war rages on.
* * *
Annette Langlois Grunseth has been published in Soundings, Ariel Anthology, and Poeming Pigeon. Her chapbook, Becoming Trans-Parent: One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition (Finishing Line Press) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been recognized by Wisconsin Academy Review, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.