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Twittering Bird

Chinh (Benjamin) Le

Watertown, CT

The Taft School (via Vietnam)


CAS for Database

Summer is running away again.

I hurry straddle search

for answers to the questions

that will come.

Cry: I'm from the jungle.

And they leave me alone.

In my palms, their crackling

napalm lights

the way while I,

child of democracy and tears

Say: I want to love, not fear

muffled beneath their brazen crackle.


a stubborn memory, barking up

in a bloody language, rustling

the quiet night

with my foul tongue and

dirty eyes:

tinh yeu khong so hai.

Like a twittering bird–

good for no one's sake,

existing for mercy.

I cut my tongue.

translate: love,

not fear.


Beautifully crafted and precise; chilling. I love the significance of the first line in the context of the rest of the poem's violence; it's as if summer itself flees injustice. Every line seems significant, every word carefully chosen.


Chinh (Benjamin) Le is a Vietnamese student currently studying at The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. Ben lived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the first fourteen years of his life. Upon entering The Taft School, he is encouraged by kind and instructive teachers, who geared him from a pure Math enthusiast to a blend of both Science and the multiplex humanities. Ben spends his weekend reading philosophy and writing, and his favorite time-passer with friends is playing Mafia past midnight.

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