Without leathers, he's but a man
                        Irish face, tan, thick waist.
                        But garbed in medals, head-rag, boots,
                        He's Genghis, Grant, Hannibal -
                        thunder rolling on a Harley.

                        Still a warrior 40 years on
                        jungles long gone - no Cong to fight.
                        He defends in statehouse, hospital, VA
                        his band - most dead by 64 -
                        and others from more recent wars.

                        Cigars like old rags stain his hands.
                        He smells of man:   smoke, sweat and musk.
                        Sleeps poorly, dreams of violence each dusk.
                        The price of war - eternal vigilance
                        perpetual keeping score.

by Contributing Poet:     Cynthia M. Sheward   Copyright 2014
      ( First published in   2015 )


                        Morning in the nail shop,
                        two Vietnamese women and I
                        hear a man's voice drawl

                                "I want a pedicure, that's all."

                        Men don't enter here, this world
                        of polish, lotion - free of fear.
                        Perhaps we misheard he repeats it slow

                                "A pedicure, please, nothing more."

                        We avoid each other's eyes
                        as he climbs the chair
                        to perch above the foot bath
                        a green beret on his unkempt hair.

                                Is it memory or mercy this veteran seeks or
                                simply gentle hands on tired feet?

by Contributing Poet:     Cynthia M. Sheward   Copyright 2014
      ( First published in   2015 )

Bio:   Cynthia M. Sheward   has been writing poetry since childhood. Born in Massachusetts, she spent much of her young life in New Jersey. She received a BA in English from Arcadia University, which she applied in Vermont in the 70's teaching junior-senior high school. In the 80s, she and her husband built their own house with their own hands in the mountains of North Carolina. In the 90s, she returned to NJ where she worked for a Fortune 500 corporation until her retirement. Her work has been published in Friends Journal, Evening Street, The Bennington Banner, Fiber Arts Magazine, The Mountain Times, Surface Design and other print media.

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PAUL HELLWEG   All rights reserved
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