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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Autumn N. Hall

 

Tet Offensive

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  The Captain’s wife balances twin grocery sacks on her hips as she fumbles with the keys.  Scampering for the sandbox, her little girl casts a sideways glance towards the backyard swamp she’s sure contains hippopotami. The obsidian bead on hinged black needles tumbles out of an inverted butter tub to reveal its carnelian hour glass.  “Mommy, come see the pretty black spider!”  Airmail and soup cans drop to the carport slab.  Leaping from the concrete deck, the mother snatches the shoe from her foot in mid-air.   

Black Widow spider
meets Vo Thuat
flip-flop

Toasted triangles drip melted cheese on bread-and-butter pickles.  Outside the steamy window, ruby throated hummingbirds vie for honeysuckle.  Listening, the little girl knows better than to talk back to her father.  

Daddy sings
on reel to reel tape
strumming his guitar

Da Nang.  In the spare quonset hut, small sweetnesses to savor:  a photo of a wife’s growing belly, a crayon drawing of a helicopter smeared with cheese, a recording bubbling with girlish giggles.

frosted sheet cake
1000th Mission
lettered in red

Mother divides and slowly pulls the embroidery floss strands in opposite directions.  Her daughter watches the tail spin.  With repeated rasps, a golden eagle emerges from black canvas in rows of perfect xxx’s.  Snapping the thread with her teeth, she pokes the needle into an envelope, underlining their names scrawled in her husband’s hand.  A garnet tear weeps from her fingertip.  

his namesake
kicks
in her belly

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