Guest Poem by Robert Dorsett

Robert Dorsett is a physician who lives and works in Berkeley. After serving as a medical officer during the Viet Nam War, he lived in Hong Kong where he studied Chinese at the Yale-in-China program at the Chinese University. His own poetry appeared in Poetry, The Literary Review, North American Review and elsewhere.

Voice for the War Refugees

The suffering of others
is always a foreign language.

They speak, leave gaps for
others to fill. Keep meaning close,

crisp and dangerous.
Packed into camps, huddled

behind wire, they bandy facts
into lies, clench fear

into a pause. And speak
what they never can say. For talk

of those left behind is a betrayal no
pity relieves. Love does not

forgive. And when they speak,
we do not understand.