It Was a Long Time before the Bones Spoke

D.F. Brown
Song Con river
Photo by manhhai via Flickr Creative Commons

I can explain myself as a soldier,
lessons of blood earned by heart.
I can reach through words
and pull you closer to war,
the one you paid for,
rung by sung a saga
history misses in its rumble through the ruins.
Glimpse the glitter-green tracers at Fire Base Nervous,
small unit tactics with indirect fire near LZ Shithole,
booby traps and body bags up the Song Con,
later, in a footnote, we died there. 

Oh! babies in the third degree order of burns. 
I don’t remember which day on the short count,
but one clear memory dances me,
dodging bullets behind a grave mound, 
Oh! blessed mothers of Agent Orange,
in a cemetery east of Plei-ku.    
Oh! little sister of the holy flames of napalm:
they put their children in the ground, 
and wail a long time. 

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.