Da Nang 1967

Peter Mladinic

The dresses they wore,
long silk affairs
in residential streets
shaded by trees,
as if snatched from sky
to earth, blues and greens
yellows and golds
silken rainbows
with backdrops of white
where in daylight and dusk
you wouldn’t know war
was going on,
the long dresses of girls
and women in doorways
of houses, shops,
silken rainbows on the path
along the river.
I took her hand
as she stepped from the barge,
her dress of orange rose
with the wind to reveal
a backdrop of snow
in this city where
snow never fell.


Peter Mladinic lives in Hobbs, New Mexico. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas in 1985. His poems have been published in numerous literary magazines such as American Literary Review, Puerto del Sol, MSS, Poetry Northwest, Poetry EastRiverrun, The Evening Street Review and Common Ground. He is the author of a chapbook, At the Blue Earth Gallery, and two full-length books of poetry, Lost in Lea: Southeast New Mexico Poems and Dressed for Winter. He teaches English at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs.

“His Viet Nam Tour” is in Mladinic’s second book of poems, Dressed for Winter, while “Da Nang 1967” is more recent. Mladinic writes, “I was stationed in Da Nang in Vietnam from August 1967 through August 1968. Both poems come from that experience. I worked as a security guard for the U.S. so I was either stationary for long periods, or mobile in jeep patrol, and had much time to observe people, places, and things in Da Nang.”