Becoming Ghost

I lived 
in the cement house
I fed the chickens
from my plate 
their claws 
scratched
new hash marks
I carried my son
in a bucket
my daughter
in another
balanced them
on a pole 
mortar fire overhead
the German nuns 
took my newborn 
he wailed from colic 
I had no colostrum 
no pearl of milk 
he keened 
for something
I could not give
now I thresh
each grain 
of rice from 
its brown husk


Poem by Cathy Linh Che

Art by Flickr/Tom Coppen