It occurs to me that this Saturday will mark forty-three years since I got out of The Nam. Forty-three years. On December 7th, 1970, I was only twenty years old. They say the military takes a boy, and turns him into a man. In truth, by the time I got out of the army, I had gone from being an innocent to being a very traumatized late adolescent.

I used to wish I could just forget the war. Like when I left The Nam, I threw away all my photographs, thinking that would help me forget. (This is where you ask, “How’s that going so far?”) But I came to realize, with the help of therapy, that the war will always be with me, always, like a story for which I am searching for a resolution I know, even now, I will never write.

in this dream

there is food and water
and no barrier reef, only shore

this woman is my wife
the compass close enough

the uncertain current I understand
and I feel strangely safe sailing long after dark

still alive days after the disaster
everything I need within reach

Filed under: Prose