Christina A. Sharik

INDOCHINE

Hey, dad –
Sandra’s boyfriend
says he’s going to
Vietnam –
do you know where that is?
Well, he said –
that’s French Indochina, I believe –
or it was.
The French called it “Indochine”
and that sure sounds nicer.
Our boys will have
a helluva time –
Monsoons, and mountains
vines and valleys
what a mess that’s going to be.
Where’s he going,
does he know where?
No, dad, I don’t know……
and really, I didn’t care.
I had a date that night
with my boyfriend,
and I was only sixteen.
Sometime later, that
boyfriend went to French IndoChina,
Vietnam (Indochine)
and couldn’t remember me…
I wasn’t sure then where it was
and at the time I didn’t care
But it was to change my life
and I was to send my friends,
and finally, my husband there.
Dad and I would nearly
come to blows about that foreign place
and I would come to learn more
about Vietnam that I’d ever
want to face…
Well, dad, you’re gone, and so’s
the husband
and I know where French Indo-China/
Vietnam/Indochine is now
I was only sixteen
how was I to know how much
a name could mean?