Red Cross

   emily
  donut dollie

Red Cross

We stood talking as the steaks cooked
You said I had the
    longest eyelashes you’d ever seen
And you were going to
    write your wife and tell her about me
You hoped one day I could meet
    the wonderful woman
    who stole your heart

It was a party, after all
A time to forget the harsh realities of war
And remember the
    good things waiting for us
    back in the Real World

The steaks were done and I was invited
    to sit at the Colonel's table
We’d talk more after dinner
              _____________

When I heard the three thumps
I looked at the Colonel
    still enjoying his steak
And knew my ears must have simply
    mistaken the sounds for incoming

This was, after all, a Divarty Party
    and the Colonel knew his men
    must man the guns
    if we were under attack

But as the next rounds began exploding
    in the middle of the party
I looked questioningly at the Colonel
    as he disappeared into the distance

I knew not the location of the bunker
    and was well aware that the men
    were running not to the bunker
    but to the guns
My thoughts raced in confusion and terror leaving
my legs motionless
The pounding of my heart echoed the cadence of the
    explosions surrounding me
I frantically looked around hoping to spot you
    long enough to ask where I should go
    and was relieved to see you still there

You were looking at me, yelling something and
    pointing as you disintegrated in a flash of light
    and a splash of red

The horror froze me as I stared at the
    scattered red fragments that were once you
    and a guilt gripped my soul
    which has forever blocked
    the memory of how I finally got to the bunker

                _____________

The next thing I can remember is
    standing dazed in the bunker
    when a boy came up and handed me
    the tail fin from a mortar

"This one almost killed you, so I thought you ought to have it."

I've kept that tail fin all these years,
But I would rather have met your wife.

1988

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See also, Emily's other spot in cyberspace:
An American Red Cross Donut Dollie with the 9th Infantry Division and Mobile Riverine Force in VIETNAM

My Vietnam Related Websites:
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam

Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet


All About Vietnam    ~ Books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!