Joanathan Fletcher‘s twin poems: Crepuscular and My Uncle’s Still In Vietnam

My Uncle’s Still In Vietnam

There’s a term to describe creatures that come out late,

but none for me, though I did the same. With a single 

word, I can speak of porcupines and kangaroos, deer 

and ferrets, jaguars and coyotes. I’m alone, not lonely.

But I assumed I was, feigned interest in mates, wasted 

days, seasons. What hob or buck pretends to go into 

rut, jill or doe into heat? No longer a fawn, cute as 

a cub, strong as a joey, I mourn the misspent time. 

I’ve faked what I’ve felt so I wouldn’t be called a stag.

I was still called a stag. I want the clarity of paws and 

quills, claws and antlers, tails and hooves. But short

of that, the will to make the remaining light count.

I’ll never know who my Uncle Mack was until 

he comes back from Vietnam, and for now, 

he’s resting easily beneath the small plot 

he carefully picked at All Saints Cemetery.

When he emerges from the foreign foliage that 

swallowed so many of his buddies, I’ll learn 

why he smoked a pack of Lucky Strikes a 

day, refused to eat at Vietnamese restaurants.

When he returns, viny bits of Vietnam atop his 

uniform, I’ll know not to ask him if he saw an 

F-100D drop napalm on some verdant village, 

jungle canopies drenched with Agent Orange.

I’ll also know not to ask what he and his VFW

buddies joked about, cried about, at Post 3792 

until he dies yet again and, burying him, I 

weep, mourn all I wished to know yet didn’t.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  He has been published in Arts Alive San Antonio, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, FlowerSong Press, Lone Stars, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Voices de la Luna, Waco WordFest. His work has also been featured at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

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