Watching Footage of the Vietnam War

Soundtrack:  “Beach Baby” by The First Class

Dad went east on ROTC,
August 1964,
Left behind Greenwich Village folklife
and a dissertation on Pound’s war broadcasts.
His back is streaked still
with shrapnel and burns
that show when he’s bent all summer
digging in the garden.

Upstate, 2003,
a breeze smacks the door open.
He hits the floor,
hand to his hip for a gun that isn’t there.
Realizes we are only playing chess,
hand to a highball glass that isn’t there.

—-The Footage
—–God, would you look at these
—–pointed killers streaking down from
—–the helicopters! They’re coming hard!
—–Monks are burning,
—–monks still burn, it is
—–2015, for God’s sake! and
—–maybe dad is in that helicopter
—–on this flickering news reel,
—–looking for Viet Kong…

And this gore flashes,
flashes in the gentle quiet of my
timber-framed dormitory.
Outside, the last snow of April
settles in already fading drifts.
Dad’s sweet peas and hostas win prizes,
and, he assures me, would even in England.


This is a guest post by Fiona Garver Craig. Fiona lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. She studies writing and philosophy at Marlboro College. When not writing and studying, Fiona works as a farmhand and waitress. Fiona lives across from a very old graveyard with a very fat cat named Twig, and likes it that way.


Leave a Reply