A Vietnam Protest
by Mary Leonard


The night we separated from the others
I fell over branches, vines, while you
slashed through the thicket, never
offering your arm, only, "Get moving!"
I did. You lunged. We kissed. I pushed
you away. You pushed me aside to stick me
with bits about 'Nam, your buddies,
how I didn't understand. I can't remember
your exact words, but only your hair,
long, blonde, tied back with teeth, awful human
trophies spitting out your mane, cutting me off,
sending me back, reeling to the fire,
to my friends' chants. I abandoned you
in the thicket you could never leave,
but you left your mark on me.
For months, I scratched blistering
mounds, enemy anthills, my body's protest
against, poison, a warning,
that you were a new breed.






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