Sunday, June 1, 2008

We Need

The poem, “We Need,” portrays the circumstances surrounding a mid-day flashback and the particulars of this flashback. My first blog posting, "Nature and the Unnatural," depicts the flashback incident more fully. The incident in "We Need" occurred during a normal workday. Bill, William Burns, who helped me during this traumatic recall, did two or three tours in Vietnam and later went to Africa as a mercenary. He suffered from numerous physical ailments.

We Need

We sat at the table
during break, Bill and
I and a woman co-worker.
Twenty-five years later
he and I talked
of survival, not battle.
We talked of the monotony,
the lack of sleep, the
heat, the humidity,
the weight we carried,
being continually in water,
and the need for constant
Then, while they
talked, I felt my
head slow drop
and my mind go back.
I was in that tidal swamp
Standing in water between
my ankles and knees.
The heat of the mid-day
sun reflected off the
water’s glistening surface.
I didn’t know how I’d
go on standing on the
edge of hell in the
Rung Sat. Then Bill hit
the table saying,
“Come back Bob!”
At his funeral I spoke
saying: “It’s good to be
with someone who

Robert Jost

Credit: First Published in Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, KOA Books, Kihei, Hawai'i

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oh, I pray for that person in the life of every veteran soldier.