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Our War

by John Davis

I’m not gook says Watanabe.
I’m Japanese which was gook
in our fathers’ war but our fathers
are pillowed and fat in front of a tube
hundreds of miles away. We’re polishing brass,
cleaning M-16s. On a radio Aretha blasts
Chain Chain Chain through the barracks.

Gonna get me a gook Wilbur grins.
Wilbur’s fighting his own war, likes men,
tried climbing into my bunk, wanted
to keep warm. He swaggers his ass
to the head. Charlie Company’s war
is to be P-I Perfect tomorrow at Inspection,
earn liberty, find a bar and a barmaid.

Just a barmaid, smells of wild rose,
hair thin like mist. Wilbur will find
a man. Lots of men take liberties.
Watanabe and I will see pictures of the latest
Buddhist to sit cross-legged in Saigon,
burn himself into the figure
his life has become.