Lai Khe

Ash-drab rank and file trees
thick green crowns
trapping the leaden
pell-mell shattered
by an accidental
a VC patrol caught in
wide aisles
rakes us and darts
back deep
into the plantation
for safety;
itís over fast,
but heís hit,
hit and down,
a man turned into blood
pudding, food for the devil
as the sunlight gauze shroud
drifts carelessly
over his face,
now heís dead
and the tappers return
to the trees -
their cuts dribbling white,
belying the rubberís black heart -
all clear,
too late
we smoke and wait
for the dustoff.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000