Weeds and Blooms
Alice, a mother and housewife,
watches her husband, the doctor,
out in the garden on weekends
weeding with a speed and ferocity
she can't muster, her energy spent
taking care of the kids.
They never discuss his work
at the clinic where he digs
bulbs out of wombs, snuffing
any chance for blooms.
The Ladling of Agent Orange
Anything can set him off.
Been that way for 40 years
since he came back from Nam.
He got spooked at dawn today
by a spider web dripping from a tree
he walked into when his dog
took him for his morning walk.
After lunch he brushed his teeth
and cried about a doctor
who died the other day.
He reads the obits every day
for names of men he served with.
His therapist believes his stress
may be magnified by contact
with Monsanto's Agent Orange.
To win the war, America ladled it
in layers thick all over Vietnam.
He managed to avoid the Cong
but never knew about Monsanto
and the ladling of Agent Orange.
He may have stepped in it at times.
Back home, he's shaky and unsure
but determined now to find the gook
who dropped that spider web.
He'll take his pistol tomorrow morning.
He and the dog will watch the trees.
There's always more than one.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.