Hamburger Hill

by Janet I. Buck


Raining apprehension.
Raw, raw youth like wings of doves.
Blue Jays sitting on a wire.
The military frame of mind
that shattered at the sight of blood
and skin beneath the uniforms.
Red, red smoke like crayons
bleeding in the sky.
Color-coded agony that wrapped you up
and spit you out. The dregs that wrote
those memories, stirred with tears
and etched with pride.
Your birthday on a mountain top
with rations growing very thin.
Anorexic hopelessness.
Loading choppers on the ground.
The spin was one that should
have been a mobile on a baby's crib
or jackets swinging at the prom.
You stayed behind the other troops
to save their dreams like pushing ships
from desert islands out to sea.
Audaciously, I finger this upon the page
to look you in the eye and say:
"I hate the body bags you saw
like dandruff on the shawl of death."
Still I'm grateful for the fact
you rose to weep and board the plane.
To dance around exploding bombs.
And lived to speak of falling rain.

****For Mark and Jim and All the Unsung Heroes

About the author: Janet Buck teaches writing and literature at the college level and is widely published in journals, e-zines, and anthologies around the world. Her poetry sites on the web have received more than thirty awards, including the distiguished Predators and Editors: Author's Site of Excellence and The Circle of the Muses Award of Inspiration. "Writing," she says, "is a tuba in a long parade that chases pain and sorrow to its dissolution."

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Copyright 1998 by Janet I. Buck