Uncle Dutch Tells His Story After a Decade
by Clarence Wolfshohl

It must have been the soft sobs
or the slow roil of the Guadalupe
as it slid into the rapids
that woke me. The campfire
was but embers in the moonless

night. I could not see either’s face,
only hear their soft words
and my uncle’s sobs. And the rustle
of my father’s arms around
Uncle Dutch’s shoulders and an offer

of the bottle. Silence, then the story
of shells dropping and flaming tanks,
pulling crewmates from the fire,
feeling the bullet bite
his ass—a low laugh and drink—

stumbling toward a farmhouse,
spurts of fire coming from its
windows, facing a man who looked
just like him, pulling the trigger
quicker, the only one he’d ever seen

fall, all the others at the distance
of his tank’s cannon in the miasma
of shelling. I heard that one June
night on the banks of a bend
in the Guadalupe as it narrowed between
cypress on its way to the Gulf.

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