A Poem by Tom Sheehan

Oh, the Wounds You Wore, Death Your Neighbor

You came on in technicolor, you who licked clean my fork,
ate the leftover leek soup, leaving a line in my mess cup,
your spoon my spoon, or mine yours, Raymond Gatti, out
of Chicago, Sasebo, Inchon, Pusan perimeter, into my trench,
into the hole I wore away into the earth lifetimes ago, end on
end, paralysis at memory.

Oh, the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.

When you caught that fireball like an inside slider, the mitt
somewhat tighter against your ribs, wrist at last extreme’s
devotion, a strike was evident, but a call we did not expect.
Once, earlier in war, time over that hill like a weekend drunk
trying on one last binge, you told me Chicago was your mother
and father, brother and sister, firebrand at feeble first touch.

Oh, the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.

You told me, your voice higher than beer aught or dared
on the perimeter, “Land! Baseball cards! Franchises!”
the easy and promised road to discharge’s riches,
all in that order like a menu at a restaurant where gods
fed the fates. But I’m still kicking the idle gong around
sixty years later. I’ve only remembered the technicolor,

And the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.


About Tom Sheehan

Tom Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry Regiment in Korea, 1951. His books are Epic Cures and Brief Cases, Short Spans, from Press 53, and A Collection of Friends and From the Quickening, from Pocol Press. He has15 Pushcart nominations, appeared in Dzanc Best of the Web 2009, and has 231 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine. His newest book, from Milspeak Publishers, September 2011, is Korean Echoes and The Westering, a collection of short stories, will be published by Milspeak Publishers in October, and will be followed by at least four more collections in a series.

2 thoughts on “A Poem by Tom Sheehan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s