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A Flower at My Lai (poem)
By Mike Hastie
Partial picture of statue at My Lai
in Quang Ngai, Vietnam 2016.
It took 4 hours to define the war in Vietnam.
It was a definition that would bring attention
to the world, because the My Lai Massacre
was a metaphor for the entire war.
That is how long it took The US Government
to unspeakably murder 504 innocent civilians.
Bad apples are a cover-up for policy.
Among the dead were 182 women, (17 were
pregnant), 173 children (56 were infants),
and 60 older men.
Empire's finally get caught out in the open,
and the truth is exposed in all of its nakedness.
The lying clothes are removed.
It is profound that a magazine called, "Life,"
would publish photographs on Dec. 5, 1969,
that would expose all of that undeniable truth.
The pictures are graphic, and 49 years later
they still tell a story that continues to define
what happens when greed masquerades as
rightness, and shame is silenced.
Empires bury their history so they can repeat it.
Some pictures expose a thousand lies.
I own a copy of that Life Magazine that was
published on December 5, 1969, so I will never be
Sometimes a flower blooms in just the right place,
to bring one's attention to what needs to be
It is memory that tells the stories of patterns,
and why truth has to be kept alive.
The flower is like a character in a play,
whose silence makes all the other characters speak.
If one does not speak, or bloom, Power gets away
— Mike Hastie