Decaying Didem
Nell DiPasquantonio

How dull for you to live your life 

without a hill to die on. 

You on your vast sunken plains 

—the lowlands south of Saigon. 

With foresight fallen underfoot 

the enemy surrounds them,

And holds aloft the sunken man 

or breaks his back with thralldom.

For in every labored breath and whispered sigh 

there is a will,

Bringing brigadiers to battlecries 

and hardened helots to the hill.

And every drop of monsoon rain 

pummelling mercilessly the sea,

Is beleaguered by insipid cries 

wrapping fingers ‘round the sheath