I am just four
and look up from the floor
at my Uncle Gary’s chin.
On his face he has a long, wide scar
from hand-hand combat
with a Viet Cong.
He is home now
from the war.
Tears fall
on my forehead.
He just came home
from the muddy jungle,
home from the tug of war.
He carries the weight of his heavy duffle bag,
all full of horrid memories
that he drops off his back
and onto the floor.
He weeps
what seem like
joyful or tragic tears,
perhaps relief,
though I don’t really know.
He says he has a dull
ache in his midsection
that won’t go away.
His pants are tucked in
his worn black boots.
I touch the tips of his boots then,
admiring the shine and him.
I do not understand
where he’s been.

 

 

 

 


James Stoner

James Stoner

Stoner earned a Masters in Liberal Studies and a Masters in Creative Writing. He is a former Senior Lecturer of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He was a featured poet in the the Pacific Review and has had published other poems in Cultural LogicThe Awakenings ReviewEducation Studies,Torrid Literature JournalFoliate Oak Literary Magazinethe Wisconsin Review and in the poetry anthology Silent Voices.  He recently completed a book of poems with artwork which will be released this fall.  See his work: jimstonerartistry.com.