Hans Ebner

into the face
of wind and monsoon rains
Di We and me
in a jeep
going 35 miles per hour
over concrete highway
from Qui Nhon to Nha Trang
the French called it
street without joy
we followed a lambretta bus
packed to the brim
with women, children, old men, and boys
pigs, chickens, ducks, and a dog or two
low clouds churned turning the rice paddies gray
rain and wind swept in sheets over all creation
bus then careened off the concrete
bounced end over end
scattering its contents as it went
ended up upside down
a hundred yards off the road
Di We and me stopped the jeep
jumped out and ran to the scene
all along the way
women were crying and yelling like ducks
as only old Vietnamese women can do
an old man's head was covered by the bus
his arms and legs danced in the open
shaken survivors just stood and watched
his strange impromptu improvisation
I hit the bus in a dead run
lifted it up just enough
Di We grabbed the old man's ankles
pulled him out from under the bus
from temple to temple his head was opened
rain mixed with his vermilion blood
and flowed into the soggy earth
took off my olive drab fatigue shirt
then ripped off my white undershirt
wrapped it around the old man's head
picked him up in my arms and
carried him the hundred yards back to the jeep
Di We ran ahead and flagged down an ARVN
truck going the other way back to Qui Nhon
put the old man in the back of
the truck with four ARVN
soldiers and said,
hospital de de maw lin,
and the truck sped away
looked back at the site of the crash
people chasing pigs, chickens, and dogs in wind swept rain
an old woman with shining black teeth
walked past me, spit then said,
dinky dow my,
which loosely means
crazy American
Di We and me got back in the jeep
continued on our way