Heroes of Vietnam

Gunships hover above the treetops, while the spotter drops down in his bubble helicopter to peer into shaded hooches for targets, a job few survive. Later, we become friends, though the war always stands between us. One day I tell him all the heroes went to Canada. It hovers over me still.

by Contributing Poet:     Barry Basden   Copyright © 2014
      ( First published in   Front Porch Review   2014 )

  They Say You Finally Have to Forgive Everything

My uniformed father's smile resembles the Mona Lisa's, as unknowable to me as ever, his cheeks rouged like some downtown whore's by an assistant in the backroom of the All-American Studio 40-odd years ago. They say there may have been another woman and a child—my half-sister. Still over there somewhere. I've found out things, but never a hint about them. I take down his portrait and hang the German clock. Tomorrow I will write for the case file of his time in Leavenworth. In the darkness the clock strikes two, then three. I get up, stop the pendulum, take another pill.

by Contributing Poet:     Barry Basden   Copyright © 2014
      ( First published in   Melancholy Hyperbole   2014 )

  Names from Another War

For three days, the Traveling Wall - half, maybe three-quarter size - stands on a hill in a far corner of the fort, away from the bustle of the main post. Families of a certain age and old-timers in boonie hats file past shiny black panels. They leave medals, faded photos, flowers beneath remembered names. So many names. Choked-up weeping. A few salutes. Silence. Nothing else but the wind, and in the distance, the dust of young soldiers preparing.

by Contributing Poet:     Barry Basden   Copyright © 2014
      ( First published in   Camel Saloon   2014 )

Bio:   Barry Basden   lives in the Texas hill country. He edits Camroc Press Review and is coauthor of Crack! and Thump: With a Combat Infantry Officer in World War II. His shorter work has been published widely, both online and in print. His latest flash collection is Wince.

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