One March afternoon in 1969 I was on the deck of a Chinese junk listening to the water clop against the wooden hull and enjoying a breeze that blew toward the South China Sea. The junk bobbed... [+]
Giving up my place to him,
Moving slowly and with help.
Pant legs slashed to bloody ribbons,
Flopping rust-colored at his ankles,
Like the assault lines of the chopper
Hovering above the paddy,
Trembling like a gut-shot deer.
Lurching along the road in second,
Fearful of a broken axle,
The firefight fades behind us
While he rocks there – grim but silent.
And when the medics ease him out,
In the dimple of the seat,
Red dust, red blood mix together,
Congealing in the jungle heat.