Black Box
    Ina Cumpiano

   She has a MiG 21 under her skin, the nose
   like a nub in her armpit. Turboprops
   are her lashes; there’s a motor
   in her belly and she tells lie after lie
   to the cockpit recorder. Soon (pay attention:
   this is no metaphor, this is your life), soon
   she’ll fly towards Bien Hoa in a rainstorm through
   a hole in a cloud, a window just in time. Opportunity.
   Down below, a frog
   croaked from the paddy —no one,
   one one, no one— while Bob Hope told
   the one about the nurse
   and the Army dentist. In the meantime,
   the nurse and the Army dentist
   smooched in a corner of her tent. The picture
   of his wife in his wallet scorched
   a hole on his butt. At this point,
   the frog could barely make out
   the whispers of the ones who slid in through
   shadows, shadows were their
   window to climb through. The last one
   in line, the small one with the achy dog tooth
   whose wife still makes noodles in Cholon,
   thought about business. The crick-crack
   of twigs underfoot, and the frog
   scampers. Soon
   boom. The air blossoms, hoa dao at Tet.
   A leg here. A hand there.