STEPPING ON STONES
THE SCHOOL IN THE STEPPING STONES
Block by block through the Imperial City.
Tagged by medics when they were brought in,
the words for where, "...Near Hue,"
during a firefight. We were south,
in Qui Nhon, the evac hospital
that took GIs hit during this particular
Year of the Monkey. January 31, 1968.
I'm skiing in Japan on R&R
a resort called Zao, near
where Basho walked on his way
North. Ignorant of Basho,
ignorant of Hue, but those mortars
hitting the airfield on my return
remain with me still. Basho
where I walk, black pine, rock,
running water, book.
Ink in every book. I stood
on the citadel eight years ago,
returning, trying to imagine
revolution with modern weapons.
Impossible task. One who stood
with us in the rain, fell,
broke her ankle.
Tourist evac'd from the Sacred City.
My job in Qui Nhon.
Trying to imagine.
Moral injury is language
we use today, listening now
to casualties from all sides.
9 August 2017