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A Photo of my Father in 1953

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A Photo of my Father in 1953

Christie Grimes

In a black and white photo he is lean
and handsome
and looks sharp in his uniform.

His eyes are bright and clear
ready to leave the dairy farm, chores, and breaking horses.
Tall, not yet weathered by the future.

He won’t talk about the medals he got in Korea.
Once, after loratab dreams, he recounted
his memories with shame to my mother.

The men using the villagers for target practice
while the women and children scurried
to collect trinkets from the fallen.
Said some skeletons should stay in the fucking closet.

He arrived the day peace was declared
So later, they wouldn’t let him into the local VFW.
He told them to piss off, said no one told the people
that peace meant to stop fighting.

That would have been enough for one life.
But three drunk driving accidents,
totaled cars and mangled flesh left him
squatty, limping through retirement with a cane.

At 69 he sleeps in chairs, and rouses with anger,
his bald head shiny with sweat.