Bandolier

I thought I’d turned it in

once and for all

at Long Bien.

 

And yet I sling it across my chest

heavy with grenades,

loaded magazines;

 

tell my young son,

“The war is over”

I fight it;

 

promise my baby girl

I’ll take it off

but can’t;

 

lie to my lover

I left it there and

she vaguely smiles.

 

One day I’ll toss it

into a rice paddy

of never been.

 

Until then I’ll bear its weight

and drag it into flashback afternoons

with no sense of honor.

 

I never fought for my country,

only for Tony, a black guy from Detroit,

who humped with me into Cambodia.

 

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