Don the Poet


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April 4, 2015

Bombing Party




One
My grandfather was a champion.
Two
Though he probably mastered his technique on the Scottish Highlands before coming to the states,
he had an arm.
Three.
Had it been a different time he might’ve been a baseball star,
but this was war and a newly adopted country, so he became a soldier.

One
He became an infantryman when they noticed how his hands were rather large.
Two
With just a few short practices they noticed that he threw where he was looking:
accurate, landing the grenade in the zone almost every single time.
Three
Until he was deployed he was entered into contests:  a champion grenade thrower
and his platoon took every prize.

One
As a member of a bombing party he’d run from trench to trench and throw grenades.
Two
After the trench was cleared they’d drink water, smoke cigarettes, rearrange their gear.
Three
On to the next, clearing them with precision throws as they went.

One
When you throw a grenade, you count to three before it goes off
Two
But sometimes it malfunctions and you count again
Three
Yet, if you move on, it can still blow at any time.

One
My grandfather got shot in the war and collapsed into a trench.
Two
For three days he bled into the fetid water; bodies stacked upon the field.
Three
Until the battle ended and the Red Cross pulled him free.

One
He’d watch me practice pitching from his porch until the evening
Two
An ashtray full of butts would smoke in ruins,
as he’d say, “You’re holding it too long.
Three
“Just wind and throw.
Look where you want the ball to go.”

One
He nearly died so my Dad could live a couple of different times.
Two
Yet it didn’t keep my pops from enlisting and getting trained to land bombers on a field.
Three
My father never talks about Korea just that he’s glad I never went to war.

One
My dad and I love baseball and the slow count of the throw on its way to home.
Two.
The thud of ball in leather; the crack of bat against the ball
Three
And the crowd exploding as the ball is up and gone.

One
Two
Three…