Khe Sanh

when allan died at khe sanh, his mouth left open

inviting the whole of sky inward, seen in graceful

leafy patterns up through the ragged canopy, war-

burnt out the nature of things and when allan died at

khe sanh- ask his cousins back in Brooklyn- they

went to the movies every Saturday night, leaning on

each other and after the show, reading letters

beneath the street-lamps, the city taking an ominous moment

as spring first breathed warm across familiar

cement, familiar steel- when allan died at khe sanh

nothing was familiar then, the landlord's television

flickering endless nights out over the dark of the world,

colors pictures of green places, green forevers trapped

breathing in dirty faces and broken eyes, men holding

hands in the brush while the helicopters thundered,

herded above, thousand mechanical voices droning

"this is war now, this is war, now, this is war. now."

and when allan died at khe sanh, his mother lay on

the floor for three days. her husband had noble

photos of black-and-white courage, faces all the same-

this war. her son opened his mouth to the white blinding

brilliance of burning day, burst of flame and shrapnel,

children running, green, green, green.