SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 13, 2015) Lightning strikes the water as San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) navigates between storms. The Essex Amphibious Ready Group is currently operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Liam Kennedy/Released)

At the Beach in Inarajan

by Michael Topa

A fragment from 1968 returns
It was literally heaven on earth
When you waded out
Into the vast Pacific dipped your hands
Amid the coral reefs

You swam at leisure sometimes floating and relaxed
Face upwards
As you watched in utter contentment
The sun-ragged clouds and gentle wind
Traversing the island of Guam

Later that night
You would discover the gash on your leg
Made by a brush with a coral reef
That festered for months

The souvenir scar has stayed with you
And fetched these words today out of its keloid
As a gift