Again and Again

The bullets coming up through the jungle canopy shot the oil lines in two

The engine burned and failed.

I took the airspeed to zero and put the helicopter into the trees tail down

As the rotor blades broke off we hurtled to the ground.

Now when I awake at night slamming with no blades to the jungle floor

I see a man standing in the trees

He looks like an ordinary man

Until I see the nails in his hands.

We buried my father one sunny afternoon

There were his friends, a World War II honor guard, a flag and taps.

I had seen death many times before

But this was my father whom I loved and adored.

Just as I thought I could not hold up

One of his cronies steadied me with an arm around my shoulder

I was surprised I did not know the man

Looking back I see the nail in his hand.

Perhaps I should have died in the jungle at twenty-five

So I try to make myself useful to prove I am alive

As I stand here in a life of joy and happy circumstance

To satisfy my artistic longing I pursue the ballroom dance.

Through years of dedicated lessons she elevates me beyond my ability

Then one day, in minutes, a coach puts us both on a level we have never been

Though I know him as an ordinary man

I swear that day I saw a deep scar on his hand.

Ray Kenneth Clark

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November 17 ·

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