Nancy Bruner Wilson









looking for love

motherless child
toddler separated
from his birth mother
brought up by single

untrained inexperienced
unaccustomed to nurturing

on last night of short visit
we hurriedly left in different cars

before we said goodbye
for how long no one knew
i made the effort took the time to find
the motherless needy child

i love you give me a hug i told him
with bright shiny eyes he smiled broadly
knowing he was not forgotten left behind

you always find me don’t you he said

motherless child looking for maternal love
wherever it’s available from whoever’s around





a matter of attitude

next door six year old child
annoying aggravating bothersome
irritating spoiled whiny
used to getting his way

first time in neighbor’s basement
carefully goes down dark deep mysterious
steep stairs
one watchful step at a time

deeper into the dungeon
farther from safety engulfed in
the forbidden forest habitat home
of one eyed monsters evil gargoyles

giant spiders in webs that cover
the ceiling looking watching ready
to pounce

tyrannosaurus quiet waiting for the
right moment on the other side
fire spewing dragons
weaving vipers quicksand caving in

absorbing consuming eating whatever’s

trembling child trying not to cry show
covering apprehension fear terror
screaming deep inside

cautiously timidly reaches for neighbor’s
protective hand

neighbor unhesitantly takes it holds tight
reassures says it’ll be all right

in a moment’s notice
neighbor’s attitude feelings toward child
completely drastically change

child miraculously suddenly
loving winsome trusting one the neighbor
adores enjoys wants to have around





phuoc huu

his name was phuoc huu
common vietnamese name
for a male child meaning
one who deserves to be lucky

never knew his story
how he managed survived got by
somehow someway by himself for eight
years in a divided conflict torn ravaged country

only that he was orphaned
missing family home
no one to take him in

came found made his lone way to
an unbelievable haven sanctuary
u s air evacuation hospital in
quinhon safety near the sea
lucky day for him

no one had the heart to send him
away back to the streets
to forage look out fend for himself
was taken in looked after
became a communal mascot
assumed good luck because of his constant
presence name

fed given a bed place to sleep
friendly attentive keepers
best most secure life he’d known had
his luck was holding holding well

small built typical asian frame
likeable personality
active cheerful energetic always a smile
full of fun humor prankster trickster
glad grateful to have a place to be
people he knew like family

full reign of the quonset huts
grounds wards but never annoyance
underfoot in the way

all the patients staff knew him
daily looked forward to seeing him
smart becoming proficient in english
called us each by name
brightened lit up our drabolivegreenfatigued

he was a joy pure total unadulterated
pleasure joy phuoc huu
one who deserves luck
joy sweet joy to have around

then one morning we heard the news
the evening before adventuresome playing
he climbed walked atop the
unstable wobbly sand bags
piled stacked many feet high
lost his footing fell slid deep deep onto
hard cold unforgiving ground

quickly one by one the bags fell avalanched
crashed heaped tumbled upon him
too small weak unable to toss them off
get up escape be found

no one around to see
help him get up recover
beneath the weight
his oxygen wind gave out

the happy little vietnamese boy
phuoc huu died suffocated freak accident
no longer seen making rounds

he deserved was supposed to be lucky
that’s what his name signified stood for meant
but in the end phuoc huu’s luck ran out
the little boy who brought such joy
to patients and staff alike

dead not from napalm bombs
deadly rocket fires punji stick wounds
booby traps mines
gunshot to the head
but dead as the result of an ungodly struggle
that took his life the same

in the game of war survival making it
coming through alive has much to
do with fortuitous circumstances
coincidences happenstances
destiny fate kismet

phuoc huu
carnage orphaned child
another casualty victim of an atrocious
no win war progress made by day
taken away at night
not because a lucky name turned traitor
deceived fooled him
but because he was an innocent child
caught up in a grown up game
the deadly game of war





a tale of two children

a child grows bored tired same dull
cowboy bedroom worn brown hats spurred boots
red plaid blankets neoned saloon lights

another child wishes for a soft bed
place to spend the night

child pouts doesn’t want to go to ballet
practice turns away naughty head from eating
spinach apples healthy green beans demands
wants chocolate ice cream instead

another would like something anything to
fill empty stomach mush whey milk anything
to eat be fed

child turns away tells mother no temper tantrum
not the right toy

another child wishes mother to call own

child lives grows up comfortable home choice
of food expensive clothes everything he needs wants
life happy bright right

other child recognizes knows his fate
works tries hard survive make it through
knowing realizing it’s always a fight

two worlds different children
some taken care of pampered spoiled
no need to want worry feel unsure

others deprived depraved insecure needing
void needing needing needing more

tale of two children
tale of two worlds














About the Author

Nancy Bruner Wilson’s background is in social work. She has degrees from Berea College in Kentucky and from The Tulane University Graduate School of Social Work in New Orleans. She worked for the American Red Cross which included a one year assignment with the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam, during the height of the war. She also worked for the New York City Department of Social Services in the South Bronx. Nancy is retired from the Kentucky Department of Social Services where she held various positions including work in a residential facility for status offenders and hearing officer for the department.

Nancy began writing five years ago to fulfill a lifelong desire. In 2012, she and her artist husband, Howard Wilson, released a Published in Heaven book titled breaking out. It is comprised of fifteen of her poems and his art work. Nancy’s poems have appeared in three Louisville publications: The Louisville Courier-Journal; The Highlander; and Uncut Candy. They have also been accepted for publication in: Advocate, PKA’s Publication; Bear Creek Haiku; Pearl Editions; The Poet’s Art; and Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature.

Nancy and her husband reside in a Victorian home in Louisville near Cave Hill Cementery.

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