Happy Valley above Vinh Thanh

D.F. Brown
Photo by zheng

What you think is a face
is a lake
is a lake
is a lake a door
an empty ladder
between memory and
a big blond kid from Kansas 
shook like a leaf
till he flopped like a fish 
till he died on the jungle floor—
each gesture stiff in phrases
like they repeated anything
something about survival
seems to fit around the pain
and comes one music.
You can damn near sing along.

D.F. Brown was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks. He served as a combat medic with the First of the Fourteenth Infantry in Vietnam, 1969–1970.