Alan L. Winters


You’re pulling guard tonight,
Tower number two.
It’s dusk but still past 90.
By the time you draw your weapon
And lug up all the ammo
Each rung of the ladder feels like eternity
By now the sun is setting
Beyond the concertina wire
And slipping below the rice paddies
Glowing red through all the dust.
It’s getting dark as you try to peer
In the blackness of the moonless night.
And to Pray to God
You never hear a sound
Until your watch is through.
What was that in the wire?
A jungle rat, a stray dog, or VC?
In a moment you hear a familiar shriek
And know it’s just a howler monkey
Keeping watch as you.