Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Earl C. Pike is a writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. He traveled through Vietnam in November and December of 1994.
One of the more shocking things about Vietnam is the number of people with serious war-related injuries: a woman with her face half burned away, men without legs, children with significant birth defects due to fetal exposure to Agent Orange, which remained in the food chain long after the fighting had stopped. Yesterday I counted seven people. Today I counted four more.
There was no irrefutable justification for a sentence of genocide. But that was the verdict.
My keeper hurled me into the hole, and jumped in after me. She pulled the floorboards back into place, over our heads, and we were engulfed in darkness as the hammering against the front door started. I tried to call out, but her thick arm snaked around my chest, and her calloused palm clamped over my mouth, as the sound of wood splintering, and then crashing, exploded all around us.
I write that name with hesitation, the pause that accompanies reverence. One does not scribble the name of the Creator casually. One does not toss about the title of the Segmented Deity without a shuddering respect.
Yessssss: and every snake must slough its skin, leaving a trail of cellular clothing around the forest, or, as it were, this garden.