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Almost evening, she leads her old friend around the garden, pausing at each raised bed, the black Buddhist robes covering up his US Army service number tattooed along his muscular arm. Back then, he did it all: the divorce, the heroin, the anger, the abandoned son. When he called for help, they put him on hold longer than he could stand and he broke the phone in half. Never without a gun. And then Nam. How many did I kill ? 12-Step-everything, The meditation. And then he started walking. Auschwitz to Vietnam. I took the first step, and I knew. I knew. Strolling in the soft light, a bald-headed bird hovering above the lettuce, the onions, the garlic, the tomatoes, the potatoes. All this growth! Such abundance!
Copyright 2019 Philip Terman
Philip Terman is the author of Our Portion: New and Selected Poems, published by Autumn House.