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My Mother Still Dreams of the War

From: Cream City Review
Volume 37, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2013-2014
pp. 26-27 | 10.1353/ccr.2013.0050

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Her great uncle
was kidnapped
when she was five

and the rumors
of the Viet Cong
prevent her

from ever returning
to that place, where
the wraiths rose

from the paddies
as she walked
alone to school.

In sleep, she can’t erase
her great-uncle’s
face—his kind eyes

and hair cropped close.
In the summer,
soldiers hid in the ditch

just outside her home.
She knew them
from their distinct smell

mùi Mỹ
she called it, laughing—
that American scent

of mosquito repellant
and unbathed skin
that she described as

the smell of something burning.

She was thirteen
when the soldiers
touched her hair,

clipped the strands
between their fingers
as if to cut them,

and perhaps
some piece
of her too.

Soon after, a village girl
was raped by a soldier
in a dried out gully.

She was airlifted
to the field

My mother doesn’t say,
It could have been me.
but instead:

the girl lived
and could never

Cathy Linh Che  

Cathy Linh Che is the author of Split (Alice James, 2014), the winner of the 2012 Kundiman Poetry Prize. She received her MFA from New York University and is the recipient of fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, Hedgebrook, and Poets House.

Copyright © 2013 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Cathy Linh Che. "My Mother Still Dreams of the War." Cream City Review 37.2 (2013): 26-27. Project MUSE. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Che, C. L.(2013). My Mother Still Dreams of the War. Cream City Review 37(2), 26-27. Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Cathy Linh Che. "My Mother Still Dreams of the War." Cream City Review 37, no. 2 (2013): 26-27. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 20, 2014).
T1 - My Mother Still Dreams of the War
A1 - Cathy Linh Che
JF - Cream City Review
VL - 37
IS - 2
SP - 26
EP - 27
PY - 2013
PB - Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
SN - 2166-014x
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cream_city_review/v037/37.2.che01.html
N1 - Volume 37, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2013-2014
ER -


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