Morning in the nail shop,
two Vietnamese women and I
hear a man’s voice drawl
“I want a pedicure, that’s all.”
Men don’t enter here, this world
of polish, lotion – free of fear.
Perhaps we misheard – he repeats it slow
“A pedicure, please, nothing more.”
We avoid each other’s eyes
as he climbs the chair
to perch above the foot bath
a green beret on his unkempt hair.
Is it memory or mercy this veteran seeks or
simply gentle hands on tired feet?
Published on http://www.vietnamwarpoetry.com/cpcynthiamsheward.html
Image – Old Shoes © Zimogljad | Dreamstime.com\
Without leathers, he’s but a man
Irish face, tan, thick waist.
But garbed in medals, head-rag, boots,
he’s Genghis, Grant, Hannibal –
thunder rolling on a Harley.
Still a warrior 40 years on
jungles long gone – no Cong to fight,
he defends in statehouse, hospital, VA
his band – most dead by 64 –
and others from more recent wars.
Cigars like old rags stain his hands.
He smells of man: smoke, sweat and musk
sleeps poorly, dreams of violence each dusk.
The price of war’s eternal vigilance
perpetual keeping score.
published on http://www.vietnamwarpoetry.com/cpcynthiamsheward.html