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.”