Young Boy in Viet Nam


Young Boy in Viet Nam
.. for molly ..
the morning rose tall and crisp
when the boat broke the waves
i stood on the prow and i
i saw his eyes for the first time  
his was just a glance
but one that sank deep into me
like sand melting into glass
we landed and i
i landed on the sand
a group of boys chasing a ball around
he was right there with them
kicking the ball with the side of his foot
everyone else had shoes
the ball skipped my way and i
i kicked it back 
the boys laughed and ran after it
his the biggest smile of them all
i stayed on the island that night
and seven thereafter
i couldn’t leave
i didn’t leave
i chased the ball around with the boys
and he
he was the only one without shoes
he lived on a boat just offshore
his father a fisherman
he helped cast the nets just before dawn and then
he’d come in every morning 
to play with his friends
and he was the only one
the only one without shoes
i played all week on that beach
chasing the ball with the local boys
and me the only girl
the tallest of them all and my
curly blonde hair all dusty with sand
we all laughed and chased the ball
and on the last day
that morning i took him out
took him to the market
he said not a word and he came with me
his small hand held in mine
he walked with me and then he pointed
shy and looking up at me with his great brown eyes
in pure silent innocence
he pointed to the pair he thought would be nice
and there it was
he was no longer the only one
the only one without shoes 
—birgitte rasine
20 september 2005