Yes these are mine
I carry them from shower to dreams
and sniff them in dark dawns
I find them in my food
they cling like cigarette smoke in hair
and clog pores like dead skin,
these gray stenches of all my dead,
stinking like sweat-soaked fatigues.
Frail-bodied old women in black,
the My Tho Laundry mama sans fold
them quietly, still stiff and unclean,
And leave them on my cot unsmiling.
Author: Stephen Sossaman
Stephen Sossaman is Professor Emeritus of English at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. He now lives in California. He was an artillery fire direction computer in Viet Nam, serving in the Mekong Delta (1/84th artillery, 9th Infantry Division).