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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