Vietnam Visits the Neighborhood

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June 1, 2014 by The Citron Review

by Allison Thorpe

 

The sky purpled on the day he died, and the sun went orange to bed. I remember my mother had made pork chops and sauerkraut. Their twang shaped the mood when I opened the kitchen door. She rose from the table, wiping the tears—my father always made her cry—but she held a darker sadness this time. Vonnie Thompson, she said. No one was happy when his number came up. His girlfriend begged him to go to Canada. I remember him tying my shoes on the way to grade school, his thin fingers flying over the tight double knots; the way he caressed a basketball before sending it home to hoop; the boy who saved me a dance at prom, his hand firm on the small of my back. But everyone had their own story: He had such a great smile. What a kind heart. The longest legs you’ve ever seen. Good head on his shoulders. Those feet could soar on the court. Until I began to wonder if we see people in body parts. Over the years his face has blurred to shadows, voice a lost music, walk fading to horizon, hands rest now dry and silent, but in my mind busy, busy.

 

Allison Thorpe is the author of one book of poems and one chapbook. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming from Green Mountains Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Clapboard House, Freshwater, Gravel Magazine, Apeiron Review, Kindred Magazine, Dirty Chai, Snail Mail Review, and Lingerpost

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