Vietnam Half-life

An officer and gentleman,
map-less in the no-manís-land
of normalcy:
sometimes,
a chopper slices
a corner out of the sky
and seizes his gut;
a voluptuous breeze
tilts just so, turning
a pedestrian curbside
around ó
into a Da Nang street market
banked with seven kinds of rice
and eels;
banana golden mounds, prawns
and ducks, wilted feathers patient
before slaughter;
in his heartís eye,
one soft brush of fingers
through black raw-silk hair,
small palm cupping his hand
as he pays for some trivial purchase.

He is half-home.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000