Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Work for Food

Mementos of Vietnam - the metal box holds all of Rod's letters home to his folks.

Where highways
93 and 40 cross
     a 4-way stop
     an overpass
I interupt my hurry, north
To notice this solitary
He's paunchy, a pigtail grey
               and that
     Sickly, indoor kind
     of pale,
His bulbous, pockmarked
     Tells much.
He holds a cardboard sign
     (magic marked) that
Begs---Viet Vet---Work for Food.
He (and it) hold my eye, and
     I wonder hard
     About this man
The miles          and the years
     Have blurred the green
     Bent the Memories
     (and Minds)
     to suit
He can probably recite
The Names, the outfits
That climbed some hard-won
Hill--and gave it back.
Knows somebody who knows
Somebody who knows     you

It's getting hard
To tell an honest, grizzled
     Who sucks cheap wine
     and yearns for youth
     and the
We once were
     all too glad
To lose,
     from a
Common, grungy, middle-aged
Who knows which words
     Will work
I take the smooth, Corporate
I have a truck to chase,
Cows to sort for tomorrow's
     Beef auction
     In Jerome.
I have responsibilities.
So     I roll through
         the stop          and
         Save . . . the wave.

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