This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from Cleave by Tiana Nobile, released by Hub City Press in 2021.
“We bucket-brigade-loaded the children right up the stairs into the airplane.”
– Col. Bud Traynor, pilot
April 4, 1975
Skin still wet with mother’s grief.
I brought my baby to them,
I admit it.
Airlift Takes Off
Tucked in cardboard and stowed.
Two to each seat.
At 23,000 Feet Systems Fail
In the event of being born
in a country ravaged by war –
I heard rumors that mixed babies
would be burned alive. Retaliation
for consorting with the enemy.
Save – Rescue – Liberate
I asked about the papers. How
will I find her? How will we reunite
Skids in Rice Paddy
In the event their skin is soaked in gasoline –
Those who didn’t fit
would make the trip
in the cargo area.
Crosses Saigon River
Under the circumstances,
the evacuation became necessary –
The promise of reunion
too appealing to pass up.
Fractures in Four
Jam-packed flock, throng of new bones.
It was no longer a choice.
The only option.
& Seventy-Eight Children
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