Nancy L. Meek

PLATEFUL

Who knows what he’s seeing
in the advancing shadows on the lawn
as he stands in the open doorway
his palms sweaty, his face drawn.

His wife, at the stove behind him,
invades his thoughts as she works
“I know you didn’t want liver, but
the store ran out of steaks… jerks!”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, staring
through the screen, beyond the grass,
past the pines… the telephone poles,
whatever he’s seeing holding him fast.

News on the war drones on and on
in the other room, “Yesterday in Iraq,
two American soldiers and six Iraqis
were killed in yet another attack…”

“It don’t mean shit,” he whispers
to the sun sinking low in the sky,
its red glow dancing… reflected
in a fat tear pooling in his eye.

“Okay, wash up. Supper’s ready.”
But he doesn’t hear her command.
Suddenly, he isn’t hungry anymore,
his plate overflowing from Vietnam.