by Dayna Patterson

<i>for Jim</i>

It took exactly one minute
of boot camp for Jim
to realize he’d committed
the Grand Mal of mistakes.

He’d joined to kill Japanese,
to have the helium weight
of medals lift his chest.
It took one minute to deflate.

Years later, he came home,
refused the legion, and made
his worn Marine’s uniform
into a bonfire. Every Friday,

on Peace Corner he holds a print
of “The Scream.” Sometimes
he screams loud enough to lift
feet off the ground.

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