(My Uncle: Good Morning, Apocalypse Now)
My uncle doesn't speak much
about Vietnam or the stuff
he witnessed when he
was just a boy. See,
he likes to drive the back roads fast
and honk at random cars that pass.
His friendly gestures always lead to how
he grew up compared to kids now.
Jumping and racing trains on the tracks
became dodging bullets and carrying his buddy on his back.
The marshes and dirt valleys here
became the forests and trenches of the military frontier.
Last year, my sister donned his jacket
a fatigued fatigue that hung in his closet.
In color and memory darkened,
kept out of sight for fear it would harken
the PTSD he's stuggled to avoid.
He saw his brothers, young like him
to Vietnam succumb
while on American soil
and he promised he would never speak,
for fear his stomach would coil,
when remembering rice - a dish he no longer enjoys.
And there's no orange on his clothes to remind him of the agent that destroyed.
When he speaks a calm
"Good morning", I wonder if he's thinking of Vietnam
or if he knows
that I admire his strength and
bravery and how
he continually fights against
the "Apocalypse Now".