Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Doug Rawlings, Vietnam veteran
Chesterville, Maine, USA

A Bicentennial Poem: 1976
Jen is two now
and can almost talk.
Why, if this were seven years ago
and she Vietnamese,
she'd almost be able to
sell her mother.

The Wall

Descending into this declivity
dug into our nation's capitol
by the cloven hoof
of yet another one of our country's tropical wars,
slipping past the names of those
whose wounds refuse to heal,
past the panel where my name
would have been
could have been
perhaps should have been
down to the Wall's greatest depth,
where the beginning meets the end,

I kneel

and stare through my own reflection
beyond the names of those
who died so young
and know now that
the Wall has finally found me:
fifty-eight thousand
thousand-yard stares
have fixed on me
as if I were their Pole Star
as if I could guide
their mute testimony
back into the world
as if I could connect
all those dots
in the night sky
as if I
could tell them
the reason why.


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