Prisoner of War


They cuffed him
    on the sidewalk
        after the Jefferson seminar
     let out.
Two MPs and a guy in a suit
     the color of Nixon’s soul.
Someone yelled something about the pigs
     but before we could think,
         he was gone.

Someone said drugs,
    which didn’t make sense.
True enough, he never turned down
    a joint or a hit on the Thunderbird
        passing from hand to hand
    while Jim and Jimi and Janis
        glowed on the black light
But, shit, that’s what made him one of us,
not like the doggies on West Colorado Avenue,
watching the dancers in off-limit clubs
    with eyes that said
        they could blow
             at any time.

He was different.
He told us stories about mama sans and Saigon cowboys, made us laugh.
The chicks didn’t even mind his plastic leg.

The paper said
    he’d escaped from the Arizona pen,
    stolen his dead twin brother’s license
             and volunteered
                for Vietnam.
Traded his leg for a silver star
           at Dak To.
Came back home
           a lie.

Only one thing we know for sure:
he wasn’t who he was.