Mai Der Vang

May the dead       be ever-evidenced           May their clandestine namesbellow from the mouth      of an August   monsoon        May they coax the truth                                  from every storm      Long ago               there lived a jungle    whose only cloth was       camouflageAll those who came to it                     learned the burden of hiding                                    Long ago     we memorizedthe refrains of wild birds        stitched them underneath                                           our evacuated skinsThen man      Then soldier   Then vividness                of saffron and canary                               arriving as small showers                   divulging its anatomy                                           to the ecosystemTo keep the covert buried is nothow this story bends             The insects have always knownTheir lineage of pollen        and the children                                                      of insects know tooMay this Secret War     its author of poisons      its professor of counterfeit treatieskidnapper of honeybees       each iotaof its polluted doing        may it all burn and blister               under its own nakedness

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Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland, which won the Walt Whitman Award, was named a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. She teaches at Fresno State University.

“With Yellow Rain, Vang scores onto the record the previously silenced experiences of Hmong, rupturing the erasures within Western accounts of history, all while holding the US government, media, and scientists accountable. It is revolutionary.”

“[Mai Der Vang] transform[s] the impersonal and politically and ethically deceitful into a vivid reclamation of the brutal truth.”
Booklist, starred review

“Vang’s lyrical interventions strike powerful notes of lamentation and rage.”
The New Yorker, Briefly Noted

“Vang memorably reckons with a complex and tragic cultural history.”
Publishers Weekly

“Mai Der Vang’s Yellow Rain spoke to a piece of my heart that has yearned for such a work as this to come forth in response to the layered tragedies of our shared history, to establish a record in which our voices cannot be erased, our bodies forgotten, and our names forsaken. . . . An indictment of the highest and most poetic order.”
—Kao Kalia Yang

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