Breaking bones do sound alike,
Whether separated by thirty years and half a world,
Though marked by tropical sweat or winter’s chill,
My lost youth or creeping middle age.
Children cry, the tears run free
From brown slanted Asian eyes
Or pouring down the pale white face
Of my little toddler girl.
Neglect of duty is the burden:
Christmas memories of a beaten Vietnamese boy,
So cruelly whipped and whimpering,
So wrongly broken, have never been forgotten.
But a parent’s stop frame panic when
The playground swing descends toward
The unsuspecting innocent soon knocked flat
Is not like a hostile interrogation.
The hollowness in my heart,
The emptiness of my conscience
Rattles like a little drum,