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To borrow a line from one of my favorite David Berman poems, it's too nice a day to read a poem about the American War in Vietnam. But "Vietnam," an intense poem from the Polish genius Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, flashed across one of my social media feeds over the weekend, and now I cannot get it out of my head. I hope that by sharing the poem with you all I can find some way to move on with my life and consider other poems.

In the meantime, you can find the poem in her book, Poems New and Collected, available at local bookstores.

A few notes:

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• The poem is a dialogue between soldiers and a traumatized woman. The shocks of war have thrown her into survival mode. Her sense of self has collapsed along with her society. She doesn't know what her name is, who these idiot men are, how long she's been taking shelter in a burrow, or which side of the war she's on. All she knows is that she has her children.

• I am now realizing I should have posted this succinct expression of the power of maternal love last Monday, the weekend after Mother's Day. However, since time is meaningless, as people seem to love to point out these days, I am now declaring that every day is Mother's Day, and that I am posting this poem on Mother's Day.

• It seems like a little thing, but I don't think the poem would work as well if the woman didn't bite the soldier's finger in the middle of the conversation. The bite conveys the intensity of the woman's hyper-vigilance, but it also adds physical action, and it gives the world of the poem some depth/dimension, which is all hard to convey purely through dialogue.