He Wore A Mango Peel
Asphalt road humming, willows
bending gently in this May breeze,
headlights dull in the breaking dawn,
I am back in Nam, in a jungle my
government deported me to. That’s
what I call that damn draft: deportation
of us poor and minority to do the elite’s
Far too much deportation into the jungle
cleaned out the ghettos and reservations.
Black, red, brown, we fought on that rise in
Vietnam in May, 1966, all deportees.
It was early morning, like today, with
a haze making it hard to see. All I saw
was a mango peel rising up, a perfect target.
I fired, soon saw it was a Vietcong who had a
mango peel on his teeth. Why? Your guess is
as good as mine. But that mango peel sure didanger me and my M-16.
G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, teaches at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Verse-Virtual, and Squawk Back. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org