January 2006 /Volume Seven / Issue One
Jeff Crouch
Saigon

—“White Christmas”—
My tunnel, says the old man, undiscovered.
Tour of HCM City—

Marine on post, keeping the gate—
Shut. Ho Chi Minh—not yet.
Flood of escape.

I lived next to the embassy,
Your enemy—are you back for a visit?
Once fighting, now grinning.

Footage.
On the History Channel.
Luggage cast aside.

But not in Saigon.
Only a mention of the song.
Other footage.

People, shuffling, aides and citizens.
—Help get my family out of this country.—
Papers—let’s not betray the staff.

On the embassy grounds
For helicopter transport.
Vietnam—where attrition failed to work.

Aid reduced to panicky government.
Where it collapsed—
After negotiation, and war resumes.

Tanks approach—whose liberation?
The tree in the parking lot, short work.
—Lt. Col. Jim Kean.

Final call for Ambassador Graham Martin.
Time now, Tiger—in the sky.
We sat on the roof—waiting, nervous.

The flying frog—
We weren’t abandoned.
A photograph—that _up_ _yours_, famous.

No one using the pool.
Something like 7000.
President then, Gerald Ford.

Taiwan, Nixon.
The staff.
“White Christmas.”
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