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To Huu 411  To Huu (1920–2002) Road Sabotage The cold moves from Thai-nguyen down to Yen-the and the wind rages through the woods and the Khe Pass. But I am a woman from Bac-Giang who does not feel the cold, who feels nothing but the land, the land. At home we have yet to dry the paddy and stock the corn and chop the manioc; at home we have quite a few children; still, I follow my husband to sabotage the road. Lullaby, my child, sleep well, and wait. When the moon fades, I will return. Over the hills the moon squats, watching. The road is too long, the holes too shallow. Deeper, they must be deeper pits. Spades, shovels, hands, men, women. The rocks fall, the earth breaks. Deeper, they must be deeper. The soil smells rich in the darkness, the women compete with the men in teams: men, women, spades, shovels, hands. You have grown skilled at this, but so have I. The road is too long, the night too short. The path curves, winds, twists, yet we gash our trenches into its flesh: pits for the French when they come this way, beds for the French to lie in, graves in the land for the enemy of the land. Faster, we must go faster. Deeper, they must be deeper. The wind forms ice on my eyes and blurs the moon. 412 Vietnamese No child’s cry breaks the silence, only the hushed rhythm of spades, shovels, hands, sabotaging the road. Nguyen Ngoc Bich and Robin Morgan, 1967 ...


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