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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

July Desert

Two old friends still young
when we crossed the desert.
We had never been out to that
barren beautiful madness,
we had never been
to many places then.

It was July fourth, I drove
your American truck through the
shifting landscape in changing light.
You, asleep from a Las Vegas hangover,
we had to make it to Albuquerque.

Little sparks interrupted the skyline
like gunfire, every desert town in
every direction celebrated independence.
Dozens of towns sent up their flares,
layers of color from two-second torches
bursting in the dark desert.

I drove through that warzone of happiness,
reflecting on how those towns came to be,
the settlement of scratching slowly west,
an impulse to be content stopping there
so that their cheerful explosions could
light up sparse plants and sand covered
bones, light up all the truck’s mirrors and windows
with color confusion, light up my face in the
windshield to make me look at myself for brief moments,
driving free as I would ever be across the July desert.

Kyle McHale           2015

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Where My Father Stepped

I have known the path trodden
through forest floor dirt
where my father has stepped,
the woods in the east whose
leaves hold that warm green
golden light of summer
whose forest rivers
clear and bronze
cast down through smooth stones
cut through steep hills
and hold his best footprints,
where my father stepped and left
parts of his heart on young hearts.

I have known the tragedy
of his bravery after war,
muddy jungle rotting steps
he took far from home
to watch friends step
their last steps
to watch friends gasp
their last breaths.

I have known his last steps,
those shuffling struggling sickness steps
and the march of Marine brethren
who carried him his final steps,
those were his feet
and his feet those
marching linked by spirit
breaths the fate
some soldiers chose.

He has known my first steps in a
humbling father’s joy to see an
early life after taking lives
thanking God my guns were toys.

I know now he steps where I step,
just ahead or just behind
our earthly wrongs matter not
even though he has left
I have known where
my father stepped.

Kyle McHale 2015

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