Monday, January 27, 2014

Heartbreak Grass

"There was a man who lived in my district and this man had gone South to fight the Americans and when he came back a year and a half later he had no arms, no legs, and he was blind.

I called him Uncle, like us youngsters would address our seniors. Uncle Chung was thirty-one when he returned home. A blind war veteran. I was eighteen and about to be drafted to join those destined for the South. When I saw Uncle Chung the first time I knew why many boys my age grew alarmed at being drafted into the army. Uncle Chung used to work as a machinist. He was once a big man. But the first time I saw him, limbless, he looked to me more like a freak I saw years later in the South, a country boy burned by napalm, so far gone he looked during nighttime like a glowworm, and his father would charge each neighborhood kid ten xu to come into the house to look at the human mutant."

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