From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Uncoiling (poem)

By Paul Hellweg

The real challenge not surviving,
but undoing contraction,
uncoiling forty years after,
with or without prescriptions,
beer and Scotch optional.

Clear night,
unknown stars glimmering overhead,
alert raised,
someone has heard fate approaching
or maybe seen tube flashes.
Children once more,
we all dive into soupy mud,
nostrils filling with the sweet odor
of welcoming earth.
Fear rising in a parabolic arc,
apogee poised above our heads,
howling descent,
screaming, screeching music,
a-one, a-two, this one's for you.
At each impact, my body contracts,
tighter, ever tighter,
knees draw to chest,
shoulders seek hips,
consciousness sinks into
fetal ball of forgotten dreams.
Grey smoke geysers, cordite fumes,
debris falling snow-globe gentle,
moment of shocked silence before
the wounded realize they're still alive
then make sure the rest of us
hear all about it.

—Paul Hellweg

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