Thurman P. Woodfork


There he sits as usual,
alone with his innermost thoughts;
these days he’s content to be alone;
no other company is sought.
No wife’s homey chatter, no noisy kids’ clatter,
only the blessed quiet
that surrounds him on the outside,
but now, in his mind, there’s a riot.

Noisy, whirling chopper blades
join chattering, clattering guns
as he groans and curses the darkness,
praying for the morning sun.
Then Spooky’s flares turn the night to noon,
as with a whirring roar,
a red tongue of tracers licks hungrily down,
searching the jungle floor.

The enemy retreats on silent feet,
ghosting away through the trees,
while the choking smoke gradually floats
away on the drifting breeze.
Suddenly, he sees there are no trees,
no underbrush, nor any leaves,
just rumbling tanks advancing in ranks
through clouds of sand on TV.

He suppresses a sigh, blinks rueful eyes,
aims the remote control,
and with a gentle press of his finger,
retains his hold on his soul.

Author’s Note: Dedicated to C. D., who had a sort of epiphany

Yellow Smoke at Hue, Vietnam: Photographer ~ Kyoichi Sawada
Yellow Smoke at Hue, Vietnam: Photographer ~ Kyoichi Sawada