Riding the Tiger
Bryan Thao Worra
Burying my wars, these memories of you:
“It don’t mean nothing,” wondering who
Will stop the rain and who knows the way back
To San Jose, ten thousand places you left your hearts.
What a song for all of these waters and slaughters.
It seems almost unthinkable but I’ll ask anyway:
In the shadows of Saigon in your olive and pomp,
Did you really see yourselves in your rumbling array
As some smiling lady rider from Niger
Or believe you were merely the tiger?
All of this napalm, the burning bright,
Our fearful symmetries, these roaring hogs,
Hurling yourselves at the moon and stars,
Striped Liberty gorging with impunity, weapons free,
You came a long way, babies, for hearts and minds.
Lighting huts like there’s a snazzy medal down the avenue,
You never pause to think what it really means to come back,
Deep down inside, from this land of cyclos and samsara,
Snickering at weretiger rumors,
. Shining bullets for a voracious phoenix.