Unarmed

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.

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