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Page 38

<< 37. Vietnam Dreams39. Pearl Harbor Memories >>

Search & Destroy (poem)

By R. G. Cantalupo

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Blue breaks through my machete's slash, but
no wing rises in flight. In slivered light, a pink
lotus sways, a punji's spear hidden in the palm-
shaped leaves. Up the trail, bamboo cages rage
with pigs' squeals, water buffalo bellow our
malevolent odor, faces blank as body bags
await our eternal

          return. I lean against a hootch,
light a smoke, finger my Zippo like a charmed
ear. My face, double-exposed in the lighter's
mirror, bleeds thru rushes and clouds; my shadow
ignites, then flares. I rub the thatch, flick, see the
serpent's flame dance in the hellish air. This is my
power, I command. This snake. This fire. This god.


—rg cantalupo

<< 37. Vietnam Dreams39. Pearl Harbor Memories >>



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