Cords of purple veins fed
His fingers through the laces
Of his patent leather shoes.
A horsehair brush whispered
Across the green wool jacket lying
Over a wooden chair,
It’s brass buttons winking
With each turn of the ceiling fan.
A navy blue Legion cap,
Trimmed in gold braid,
Leaning to the right,
Resting on oily white curls.
It called to the confidence
Of a youth so many years missing.
Gone now are the lines of angry
Farm boys standing in their boxers,
A doctor smoking a Camel and
Calling out their names.
Gone are frosted mugs of Pabst
And the sounds of Billie Holiday drifting
From the juke box in the corner of the PX.
Gone are the smiles of the red haired pilot,
That always ate black licorice before a mission,
And the barracks mutt named Franky D.
Gone is reciting the Lord’s Prayer out loud
While holding the broken body
Of a boy from Brown County near the Thames,
Calling for a mother he couldn’t see.
Gone is the confetti on an autumn day
As new boots kicked the dust
Of Meridian Street,
While school children and politicians cheered.
The call of robins
And the drone of a Piper Cub
Framed the words of a preacher
As they echoed off granite stones
Adorned with miniature flags.
His emerald eyes counted
The silent stare of his comrades,
Eight in all, they stood, remembering
Those that lay in foreign sands,
The deep jungle swamps,
And the hills of New England.
Speakers from a Civic caused
Them to pause,
And tears slid down his cheeks as ACDC
Echoed through the trees.