Eating Glass

The first time I saw
a preschool kid
(Do they have schools here?)
smoking a cigarette I
just stood and stared

Mama-sans squatting
to pee along the road
never drew a second glance
But a child casually smoking
was hard for me to unsee

For a month I had a
reoccurring dream of
a smoking toddler a
circus performer eating glass
and a ward filled with

Thalidomide babies
But after about
four weeks the dream
became a memory of
a dream of a memory

‘Eating Glass’ can be found in Bill’s poetry book, The Smell of Light, taken from letters he wrote home from Vietnam and can be found here.

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Bill McCloud

Bill McCloud, a three-time Teacher of the Year, has been teaching American history since 1974. His new book, The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969, published by the Balkan Press, consists of 107 poems that take the reader, chronologically, through his year in Vietnam. David Willson, poetry editor of the VVA Veteran says the poems rank “right at the top of the heap” of Vietnam War poetry. Dr. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, the current poet laureate of Oklahoma, calls the book “necessary reading.”

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