That Last Night

       A Greyhound hauled me back to Oceanside
       My Uncle Leonard … in all of his miserable wisdom said
       Keep your flipping head down, Fred

       He’d given a leg as a sacrifice
       to the gangrenous gods in a hole
       where the morphine supplies had solidified
       in the bitter North Korean cold ─
       His callused wheelchair handshake
       still shook in the memory
       from too many nights of frigid vigilance
       and the human waves of the Chinese he’d faced
       on the Frozen Chosin frontlines
       in November of 1950 ─

       Seventeen winters later …
       I hopped a free ride
       on the eve of my last night stateside
       Back through the mother-green
       gates of Camp Pendleton ─
       Back to the hospital folds
       on the rack of my slumbering … private world
       where I’d stashed just better than half a skinny
       and the footlocker photograph of a girl I’d made
       . . .outside of a dancehall bowling alley
       where she allowed me entry
       crammed into the backseat
       of her daddy’s ‘57 Chevy
       . . .allowed me to have my way
       when I told her where I was going for thirteen months
       and where I would later
       cogitate to her smooth blond sculpture beneath me

       The sweet scent of lingerie I retained as a vestige
       Would help to hold my hope over desperation
       . . .and hound me to exist

Fred Rosenblum lives with his wife of 42 years in San Diego, California. He served with the 1st Marines in Vietnam (1968-69), which fuels most of what has appeared in a smattering of publications over the years. He is the author of Hollow Tin Jingles (Main Street Rag, 2014).