“John Wayne” in Vietnam

       What many of the middle school children called me
       while giving an enthusiastic peace sign—all of them
       amazed to see an American this far out, many miles
       away from the territory of the tourists.
       The girls in long white dresses, boys in white shirts,
       ties and black shorts—I pointed in the Mekong’s direction
       and said “Many years ago over there…” and all of us
       started laughing when a cow mooed and the sky turned an even
       brighter blue, blue as the always a little doleful but beautiful river.

Tim Suermondt is the author of three collections of poems, most recently Election Night and the Five Satins (Glass Lyre Press, 2016). He has poems published and forthcoming in Poetry, Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Blackbird, PANK, The Southeast Review, and Otoliths, among others. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.