Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans
North Texas Chapter

Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans North Texas Chapter

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"Father of War"

Father, as I sit here and gaze at you, the thought creeps into my mind
The thought of you lying
Lying on foreign earth
So far away

The ants creep up your back
The humid air stands up your hair

Your face against the dirt
Your eyes covered in sleep

A click
A yellow man clips the wire

The blast cuts the dreams
As the sleeping men become awakened
Their screams screech through the thick
Screams of fear, screams of death

The metal flies zip across your view
Flowered with their deadly pitch

Your finger contracts with absence of thought
Your mind no longer that of a human being
But of a tiger
Hungry for blood
The blood of the foreign man

Shrieks of anger and profane voice spill from you
As you run, run frantically
Firing at every movement
Your fury is suddenly stopped though, as the voice of death Calls

You spin around to see
See him lying there
His young soul gushing from the hole

You run back and kneel before him
His hand grasping yours
Yet his grip weak
His eyes so blank

You cry
As words of comfort leak from your shivering lips

He is your friend
You scream for a medic
As you embrace his quivering flesh

The noise so loud now

Your heart sinks as you spy unsteady breath

And then none

He arrives
But it is too late
Your friend has died
His innocence painted now on this hellish landscape
Serves only to tear deeper the hole in your heart
And to deaden that precious feeling of compassion

Yet you survived
Saved for a higher purpose
To be my father

I know now that it easily could have been your face and your
friend that watched you die
But it wasn't

And now you sit in front of me
A strong and honored man
Who slapped at death's hand; outstretched as it grabbed at You

Yet you were saved
For me
Your son

Father, if you would have died, these words would be those
of a ghost; one who had not come from death but from lifelessness
Not knowing the taste of living

If you had met your fate there in that jungle, I would have
never tasted the sweetness of life
For I would have no mouth

I would have never heard your fatherly advice, or fatherly laughter
For I would have no ears

I would have never known the salt of a tear
For I would have no eyes from which their girth could fall

And finally, father, I could never have loved you
For I would have no heart

But I do

D. Alan Gwynn