Mr. Mackey down the street,

ordered back to Korea

after four years of Hitler,

came home a colonel with a purple heart,

withered arm and gimpy leg

to an empty bungalow and bank account –

or so mothers on the block gave as reasons

he never smiled or groused hello.

The only time I heard him speak,

he staggered by on naked feet,

full of cancer, drink, and spite,

wobbled past my girlfriend and me,

shook his fist, bellowed

over noisy insect chatter:

“Make it better this time, goddammit.

This time, you better make it good.”


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