Service to my country.
February 11, long ago, far away, atypical day in the military...
the warehouse door drops and I am akimbo under twenty-two years,
a soldier brittle for the moment;
the then is now a bridge spanning lost years, a bridge
built on broken bone, on lumbar held for ransom.
Something unkind, like the implosion of a light bulb, or
civility slashed on the precipice of anarchy.
A time when non-life collided with life, and life itself
stood poised upon the span wavering like seism. And now,
as I look back (forever proud to serve), I view that distance
like a free-body diagram, and I see thin legs
caught like bait in the maw of barbarous hunger;
upon the rusted rails stand the fishermen casting their lines...
I lie at one end of the bridge (I cope as I serve).
Whipping winds needle my neck, this universe
has time, and force suspends the
empty space; spasm
is now very well defined.
(From above, a sortie of sorts, the warfare of years...)
Humidity, the swarms of mosquitoes, the shells explode as pieces
of the Vietnam hills are flung into the sky, I see this world,
I see my compatriots from their shallow graves,
uniforms torn by the velocity of bullets,
bodies torn by the madness of ideology, my brothers
in fields dying, choppers overhead
(I lie here weighted...yet we serve);
we stand on the very best within us, some fall,
oh, my dear brothers, I love you so
as I see you through this timeless fog...
how the bridge shudders in these frigid winds and see how
pieces of corroded steel fall into that sadistic chasm far below;
the fishermen arc sinker-weighted filament from the bridge
yet the air is so thin, the horizon darkens; cantilever days...
there is fear wrapped in an iron will
(forever proud to serve).
I cry as I see the dying, camouflaged helmets stained with blood,
am I to join you, my mates, or add my wait to life?
Boots bang the decks, this cadence remains
a sympathetic rhythm as fisherman fish and gravestones pale
and the living cross bridges put upon by times proudly served.
Writer's Cramp Winner