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Bunkong Tuon: Two Poems

They Keep Dropping Bombs on Civilians

for Maya

On my bed I lie and rest my hands on my chest. 
I think about my kids chasing each other on the playground,

how they go round and round on the merry-go-round, 
then they roll on the grass and pretend they are asleep. 

My mind flashes to that baby covered in dust, 
faced down on the floor of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.

Planes sprint across the sky with bombs raining down. 
Shattered glass, torn walls, blood, and weeping mothers. 

Like a child, I squeeze my eyes and shake my head.
Like an American, I send thoughts & prayers. 

I roll to one side of the bed, press my body against the wall, and wait.
The doorbell rings. My neighbor’s daughter is selling Girl Scout Cookies.



for Nick

I wake up overwhelmed 
with love. Time slows. 
I hear each beating of 
the wings on a hummingbird. 
I teach my daughter 
how to ride a bike.
A boy plays catch with 
his golden retriever.
A father awaits news 
about family left 
behind in Ukraine. 
A friend holds his wife’s
hands in a hospital room. 
Another friend has killed 
himself before COVID
could get the best of him.
The poet comes home 
too exhausted after a graveyard 
shift at a university hospital. 
Up ahead of me
bright yellow honeysuckle
dance in the hot summer wind.

A family of deer 
crosses the bike path. 
The mother gallops
guardedly, tail up. 
Her three fawns hop, skip, 
bounce across my 
view to the brook below. 


Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of Gruel, And So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It (Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (a chapbook with Joanna C. Valente, Yes Poetry). He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.

Japanese Honeysuckle (source: Gardener’s Path)

One comment on “Bunkong Tuon: Two Poems

  1. Barbara Huntington
    April 26, 2022

    Like an American…

    Beautiful and honest. Thank you for sharing these

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2022 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , , , .

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