Friday, April 5, 2013

The Wall


It has taken a while, but I finally went to see you.

Not physically, that’s impossible, but in spirit, as

I look at your name on that Black Marbled Wall. I was told

that you died over there. They didn’t tell me till a year or so

 after I returned for fear of how I would take it.

 I didn’t take it well. And when I went to our 25th  High School Reunion

and saw your name on the program under posthumous,  I didn’t

take that well,either. Have never gone to another one since.

I found Al that day on the wall while I was there.

You didn’t know Al. He and I were bunker buddies

in Khe Sanh. We used to sneak up to the supply depot at night,

stopping by the Med Unit first to grab a stretcher, and grab

boxes of supplies, never knowing what we had till

we got back to our bunker and opened them up. Everyone

would come by and we would share our bounty with them.

Al didn’t make it.

He died on some forgotten hill. I have to tell you,

I’m still afraid to look for any guys I left behind. I guess in my mind

I’d rather think that they got back to the World like I did,

got married, raised a family and are looking to retire soon,

move to Florida and spend their days fishing. I know you would

have had plans much the same. I tell you what brother,

when I get there I promise I will put a rod out for you and Al

and open a beer or two.


  1. Clayton read it out loud, and by the time he got to the last line I was balling. It hit me like a train. I'm at a loss for words.

  2. A sad, but touching poem. Interestingly, someone in my practice writing group who's also writing poems this month, wrote a similar story about that wall on Day 4 of this poetry month!

  3. Thank you for posting this. I didn't go to 'Nam I was discharged in October of '65 at Ft. Riley Kansas as the 1st Infantry (my division) was preparing to ship out. Although I didn't go I sometimes wish I had. I feel that I let a lot of people down by not going. Bless you as you struggle to reconcile the issues you must be living with.