by Victoria Crawford
Hot dogs roasted over a charcoal fire
pickles and chips, fine dinner
after a hot day’s snorkeling
Agat’s coral reef,
Orote Peninsula, Guam,
concrete picnic table
between two thick-walled bunkers
urine smelly despite open
machine gun turrets facing the sea
our Yorkie gnawing his dog.
My father always liked dogs.
Blood warm Pacific waters surge,
the restless white reef line distant.
Shades of young men wade waist deep
across coral canyons
waves of metal hail from silent bunkers—
War in the Pacific National Park now—
my then teenage father founders,
he never did learn how to swim,
thigh bones bullet broken
as he tried to walk with his friends,
Stanley already shot and drowning
in the lagoon
He limped in all my daughter years
along in other national parks and
nature trails, three kids to fill with
trees, rocks, life, and history,
never with war,
never his own soldier story,
left foot dragging when he was tired.
He didn’t tell daughters about
grief and violence
The coals are perfect and ready for dessert,
chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows,
and I have no taste for s’mores.
Victoria Crawford is a poet who has lived all over the Pacific Rim, East and West, and islands in between. They all have their unique qualities and beauties and yet are all connected by the seas lapping at their doors. Her poems have been published in Peacock Journal, Califrage, Wildflowers Muse, The Ibis Head Review, Eastlit, The Lyric Review and various other journals.