A Runaway

The year was 1970...
Traffic was moving at a slow pace.
I saw him running along the freeway,
a look of fear upon his face.

He was tall and ruggedly handsome
in his olive drabs and boots...
The one thing obviously missing was
an M16 to shoot.

I tried to work my way over,
so I could offer him a ride.
If trying to escape the war machine,
he would need a safe place to hide.

The traffic was relentless...
They weren't about to let me in!
I doubled back to find him...
A situation I would not win.

He had disappeared so quickly...
I didn't know which way he'd gone.
I've always wondered if they caught him,
and then shipped him out at dawn.

These were times of mixed emotions,
we'd grown tired of the war.
We wanted all our GI's home...
Not statistics while Washington kept score.

I wish I could have made a difference,
with any help I had to give...
If I could have helped them all,
each of the 58,132 would have lived.*

*This was the number of names on the wall at the time I wrote this poem.


Copyright © 1999 by Cecilia Upson Covera, All Rights Reserved