08dd285525909f9577c56e9242e2967fCreating a mini-unit on Vietnam War poetry today, I came across this poem by SuAnn Doak, which I thought was pretty fucking good.

A furry eye opened halfway

in its dish of red petals

is what he paints,

every day, all day.

Each morning, a fresh canvas

glistens white

in the barred sunrise.

He flexes his hands

like a surgeon,

each finger playing

a concerto as he sits,

stares at the blank square.

Then he carves precise

red across white.

Why poppies? I ask.

He shrugs. They remind him

of humid red sunsets

on the Mekong,

red parasols carried

by Saigon whores,

of his buddy napalmed

near Soc Trang,

his eyes burned black

in his head, opened

like a red blossom.

That night, he dreamed

poppies sponging up blood.

The next patrol, he carved

skin like petals

from captured VC.

Now he paints poppies.

His fingers spread crimson

as the sun rises.

The poppy blooms.

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