Why will I recount this for you,
fluent waitress bringing me pad
thai in the corner noodle shop?
How my father passed on only
empty-handed rage, having lost,
after Guadalcanal, all taste
for carnage, how I missed out
entirely on guns, how I see a guy
from fifty yards, in gray sweats,
looking like a thief about to pop
a door lock, and I trot up to find
this devout soccer dad who just
wants quiet as he faces east
kneeling between parked cars.
And we laugh. But if I,
lapsed pacifist, eluded the draft
and dodged a war, you did not.
An infant born near a firefight,
you could be immaterial as steam
rising from imagined broth. I long
to touch your delicate hands.
Michael Lauchlan has had poems in many publications. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press.