Coming back different
They found him behind the drapes in the living room hiding from the commies--
We follow the nurse down the long corridor at the VA Hospital. My shoes squeak on the white-tile floor. As we enter the visitor’s area the nurse locks the doors behind us. I wonder if she will remember to let us out.
so many colors
Uncle Herb is staying with us for the weekend. I start to laugh when he sings White Christmas. He sounds just like Bing Crosby. I think he forgot to take his medicine though because he’s talking non-stop again about his perpetual-motion machine. Dad tells him it won’t work but Uncle Herb won’t listen. He just keeps talking and they keep going round and round.
he checks his pocket
for another nickel
The music is loud at Lois’s wedding reception. The DJ is playing Devo and we are all dancing. The Cousins pull Uncle Herb out on the floor. He has that smile on his face again as he starts to dance. On a good day he does a pretty mean Freddie.
rapid fire of machine guns
in a distant field
It would have been enough that you survived Korea, the psychiatrists, all the Thorazine they pumped into you, the weekend passes, the group homes, and us. But those awards—the ones they found in your room—for the thousands of hours you spent volunteering at the VA. We thought you were just drinking coffee at McDonald’s with your friends. Seems you had a little bit more in mind. Oohrah!
the old lot
between the cracks
you whipped it, you whipped it good
Originally Published, Cattails April 2018
Published, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review Winter 2019