Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Wounds of War

by Jim Rapp

Why do I keep it in that little vial
the doctor placed it in;
a pristine point of pencil lead
removed from my arm?

Donald and I remember it differently;
he that a mentally challenged
neighbor girl put it there;
I, assured it was an angry classmate.

I trust Donald’s memory more than mine;
he is a year and a half older,
not that that matters much now that
he is eighty and I am seventy-eight,

but when it happened he was
perhaps five or six
and I a mere three or four;
his testimony weighs more than mine.

And there it lay buried
for more than fifty years raising
only a small but sensitive bump
on my arm just below the elbow.

So when its time came to fester
Dr. Spitz deftly dug it out, laid it
on a napkin, and we examined it;
a missile, hidden since before the war.

I didn’t fight in WWII but I bore
a wound from a since-forgotten struggle
between ignorance and innocence
that lay fallow many years, then festered.

Why do I keep it in that little vial
the doctor placed it in;
a pristine point of pencil lead
removed from my arm?

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