My April 30
Thach Ngoc Truong
April 30th 1950,
I am a little boy astray
From my mother in the street,
Hesitant,
I cross the street to Hàng Ngang,
I'm lost in Hàng Đào,
I enter Hàng Bông,
I look all over
Searching for my mother,
An older kid leads me to Hàng Trống,
I rush back home,
My Mom runs to me
Hugging her, I burst into tears.

April 30th 1975
Lying at home
Capitulation news spreading
My eyes dazzled
My head tipsy
Tumultuous city
Military uniforms, knapsacks,
Firearms, bullets,
All over the streets.
Familiar faces
Now bragging red arm bands
Prison cells are open
Criminals, big and small, out errant.
Many stores are looted
Radio music strident
The day after
Back to my job
Old friends not showing.

April 30th 1976
In reeducation camp
They celebrate "liberation"
A day off from labor
I enjoy my bowl of rice mixed with gravel
Few grams of sliced meat
Few twigs of potato plants
To celebrate the Revolution
Which gives us enough
Food and warm linen
Remembering my hungry wife
And starved children.

        Please read the rest of the story in THE MEN OF VIETNAM.
Back