From a bed of loblolly and ashes, in the swell of my body,
Alone, I wake in June sweat, wrap myself 

In jump suit and curdled memory, bandana'd brow,
Ascending Walter's Knob to the Douglas fir atop

So high I can look down and make out, almost
Hidden in the brackening mists, our forty-acred farm

In my hand a telegram, the first I ever got, starts
"The President of the United States regrets..."

This is our final love letter, Quiet Man,
From Omaha Beach in Normandy, not Nebraska

I picture the landing ship, spewing you out,
Gurgitating onto the sanguine beach

Thousands of you, caught on barbed wire,
Drowning in crossfire, I believe

You thought of me at the end, you never knew,
Six months ago that as this covering pine

Stood guard above our leaf and needle bed
You gave me my greatest gift, no frankincense, no rue.

(First Published in The Blue Mountain Review - 2020)

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