“We can just hitch a ride from Jesus
to Vietnam and loot some for real phở.”
A. C.’s plan was better than my idea
to scavenge the city in her neighbor’s
left behind jeep for the phở of the righteous
The cicadas liked her plan, too. Their Martian
War Machine approval from the trees pushed
me along 40 West toward a Friday night
stadium bleacher view of pomp and circum-dance,
decades later but same as mine, maybe more mosquitoes,
on the eve of the beginning of the end.
I don’t remember my dreams that night
after walking the football field, after eating
the chili cheese fries, after the graduate
in a wheelchair, pushed by another, made
me think of Wayne, how I pushed him
from class to class for a year, maybe two.
He had an electric wheelchair by graduation,
probably the same one as when he died before
our five-year reunion.
I woke with no sleep burn images or night
whispers to wrestle or forget, but only the same
thirteen year metal buzz that pulled me back east
after a stop at a roaming Vietnam Memorial
off the highway in Camden.
58,000 souls on that wall, over two million
more written on jungle leaves, rice paddies
and in the ashes of thatch huts. Even more
engraved into diamond hills, patterned
in poppy fields and traced in sand and oil.
Maybe Jesus, A. C. and I can drop
by Alameda and pick up the radio
prophet. Over a steaming bowl of phở đặc biệt
we can explain to him he’s over-thinking
the matter. His math is useless.
The only tools he needs are a calendar,
a blindfold, and the gravity it takes
to drop his wrinkled, Kool-Aid
stained finger on