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Los Angeles Times readers submitted their views in verse for a feature dedicated to opinion poetry.
Los Angeles Times readers submitted their views in verse for a feature dedicated to opinion poetry.
(Anthony Russo / For The Times )

Remember that time your dog died and I didn’t tell you for months

Because you had deployed and George Bush was shouting,

Bring it on and we were all thinking that Korea was fixing to blow.

But, when I emailed to say we were headed for West Virginia,

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You fired back, Mom, where is Annie? and I had to say she was hit by a car.

I sent brownies loaded with black walnuts from the old home place.

Or when you called me from Iraq asking me to

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Talk to people about donating shoes and I told you it was hopeless

Because of the Tsunami, everyone was already donating.

You said Hell with that and your unit threw in their paychecks and bought

All those families just outside Fallouja new shoes off the Internet.

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I made two hundred popcorn balls wrapped in wax paper.

Or that February you came home for R&R, so sad and sick.

I baked your favorite, meatloaf and you said you couldn’t possibly,

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But I gave you doe-eyes so you ate and threw up all night,

Into the next day, saying over and over Sweet Jesus,

Please, make it stop and I knew you weren’t talking about the meatloaf.

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Or the day after Sergeant Crabtree went to Vegas and blew

His head off in the hotel bathroom, while here at home your

Best friend got arrested for selling narcotics and you said neither one of them

Needed to and maybe wouldn’t have if you’d been there. So, I shipped

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Molasses cookies thick with Crisco frosting, all the way to Kandahar.

Or the afternoon your farm boy fingers tried to clamp the artery

On that precious baby girl, near the valley of Arghandab,

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While her father screamed for Allah and blood soaked your uniform

When you hugged her to you as she passed.

I drenched that fruitcake in brandy for three days.

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But mostly it was the night your daughter was born and we

Locked eyes across the birthing room. I thought to myself,

Skillet-fried chicken with candied sweet potatoes, fried okra,

Lima beans with bacon, cornbread and aunt Lila’s hot fudge cake.

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We used the good dishes and grandpa Oris said the blessing.

The author is a communications and marketing designer, photographer and poet.

Read more: Opinion poetry by Times readers


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