2 poems — Teresa Mei Chuc

after the war in Vietnam, boat refugees

When they woke up
in the morning,
all that was left
was the skeleton.

The bones of the father.
His flesh, not already
eaten by his wife
and children,
were stolen
and eaten during
the night
on the island.

On the day
he was dying,
he suggested
that his family
eat his body
to survive.

The flesh, dried up
in the strong sun of islands,
was eaten like dried meat,
beef jerky.

A gift.


Chôm Chôm

A striking similarity
between certain landmines
and this reddish-yellow-green fruit.

Its name meaning “messy hair.”
Its spikes so long, they curl like fingernails.

If only everything this shape could be
as sweet inside as this chôm chôm.

Its white flesh reminiscent of longan
and lychee. The taste of rivers perfuming

the mouth as jasmine flowers perfume the air.
Its heavenly nectar. If a fruit could speak

of love, it would be the chôm chôm.


Teresa Mei Chuc is the author of two poetry books, Red Thread (Fithian Press, 2012) and Keeper of the Winds (FootHills Publishing, 2014). She was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War while her father remained in a Vietcong “reeducation” camp for nine years. Her poetry appears in journals such as EarthSpeak Magazine, The Good Men Project, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Hypothetical Review, Kyoto Journal, The Prose-Poem Project, The National Poetry Review, Rattle, Verse Daily and in anthologies such as New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press, 2010), With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014), and Mo’ Joe (Beatlick Press, 2014). Teresa’s poetry is forthcoming in the anthology, Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees. Teresa’s new poetry book, Song of Bones, is forthcoming from Many Voices Press in 2016.