Mark I. Kirkmeyer


The sound is unmistakable
Four turbo-prop engines
Power down, flaps extended
Holding just over a stall
Air bouncing off dirty surfaces
Passing over at 500 feet
It’s approaching the local airport
Memories spring into life
The sound pierces the sky
The soldier on guard knows
White parachutes bloom
Behind the passing plane
Sixty-four troops land
Darkness fills the bay
Drone of engines change
Green light shines
Troopers run through the door
The whistle of wind
White sand meets black sky
Hit the ground hard
Drug across sand and rock
Quick release pulled
Parachute blows free
Roll up to knees
More chutes dragging troopers
Run and grab the apex
A friend’s chute collapses
75% casualties on the DZ
They were the best of times
They were the worst of times