Extract from A Book of Vietnam "War" Poetry
A Long String of Green Bras
Being Dried by Breezes off the
South China Sea
There’s a long string of green bras being dried by breezes
off the South China Sea, and I can’t see any panties or stockings.
It’s Thursday. Almost as if it was CLEAN YOUR GREEN BRAS
TODAY, GIRLS—IT’S THURSDAY.
B-cups. C-cups. D-cups.
34’s, 36’s, 38’s and two 40’s; yet, I don’t know if the 40’s belong to
old, obese nurses with sagging breasts, or young, slim ones with firm,
uplifted breasts—indeed very big!
The wind blows on and on.
Some bra cups fill up with balmy air and lunge forward—but for
All of them are pinned up uniformly, naturally. Clothespins are all
in the same position.
The bras are each identified. Last names and serial numbers are
written in dark green, indelible ink.
Once which were the white manufacturer’s tags, are now green little
lappets—as required by Division Standard Operating Procedures.
The bras brave the excruciating torrid Asian sun.
Some bras have bolder shades of green than the others.
One or two have faded to dreary green.
The sun has shrunken them a bit; but, soon these sacks will be
stuffed, and their forms will be retained again—with a gentle
My eyes travel down the long row of green, double-cupped flags,
and I imagine each bra’s owner taking her bra and fastening it
behind her back with her two hands.
The camera (my eye) swings to the front, and I see the breasts
in each bra snuggled together with a suntanned valley between
each of them.
Breasts and breasts and breasts.
Some are large enough to bob up and down.
Some are small enough to be thought of as being 60-watt light bulbs.
Some breast skin is thick, hard.
Some breast skin is thin, soft.
I long to slide my hands under the bras’ backs, and then slide
out and unhook them all.
I long to cushion my face on those mounds of breast flesh.
I long to feel the comfort and joy of their softness and care.
I long to be set in moments of abandonment and overwhelming
I long to cuddle and find myself in the bosom of tenderness and
love of just two breasts.
17 February 1998