Earlier he had held our son in his arms for the first time. I was twenty when he was born.
I can’t find the father anywhere, I had heard the nurse say when I was waking up. My grandparents were in the waiting room. I lived with them the year he was away. Sundays were the loneliest. I’d sit in the den and embroider. Roses Five & Dime had stamped pillow cases, table scarves and skeins of thread.
Before our marriage, Officers Candidate School, and he swore no matter how bad it got he’d finish. His father fought in WWII and Korea.
He was Infantry, but placed in charge of convoys to and from the airport. Still, the compound was mortared and men were killed. One soldier was on drugs and waving his rifle around threatening to shoot someone, and my husband was sent to talk him into surrendering his weapon.
The Smothers Brothers were against the war in Vietnam. The T.V. news was censored, and also photographs. Men left for Canada—draft dodgers. Our flag went up in flames.
On Mondays I watched Laugh-In. Henry Gibson held a daisy and recited a poem.
Now, my husband is beside me, and we are going to dinner. I am wearing a white dress with a wide patent leather belt. We will check into a motel. Make love, sleep, make love again in the morning light when we are ravenous.
Gail Peck is the author of eight books of poetry. Her first full-length, Drop Zone, won the Texas Review Breakthrough Contest; The Braided Light won the Leana Shull Contest for 2015. Other collections are Thirst, Counting the Lost, From Terezin, Foreshadow, and New River, which won the Harperprints Award. Poems and essays have appeared in Southern Review, Nimrod, Greensboro Review, Brevity, Connotation Press, Comstock, Stone Voices, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart, and her essay “Child Waiting” was cited as a Notable for Best American Essays, 2013.