Nightmare #7.62

I was running as hard as I could I was late although I didn't know for what. As I came around the corner my heart jumped into my throat My ship was pulling out! The gangplank was going up and the ship had just started to move away from the dock. I kept running straight at the ship prepared to make a leap for it. "Hold it up! Stop!" I screamed as I charged toward the edge of the dock. Before I could jump, two men, bigger and stronger than I, grabbed me. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't let me go. "That's my ship," I pleaded. "I've got to get on that ship!" As I struggled with them, trying to break their grip, I looked up at the ship and saw my buddies looking down on me. There was Whitey, Cibby, Peterson, Doc, Middleton, McGuire, Brent, Gordy and all the others I'd thought were long dead. They were lining the rails dressed in their green utilities, smiling and waving at me. "Oh please, Jesus, help me!" I begged as I struggled to join them. "Wait up! I'm coming, don't go without me. Please don't leave me!" But the ship continued to slowly move away from the dock and they continued to wave. I pleaded with the men holding me: "You don't understand! Those are my buddies, that's my ship, I'm supposed to be on that ship!" They didn't seem to hear me and my efforts to free myself seemed so feeble. "Please wait," I cried out to my buddies. "Don't leave me!" But the ship pulled further away until I could barely see my friends lining the rails. I have never felt more helpless. I missed my ship and I let my buddies down. I wake up sobbing. I know that my dream is as easy to interpret as a McDonald's menu but that doesn't mean it hurts any less.

copyright © 1996 by John Musgrave, from his book "Under a Flare-lit Sky: Vietnam Poems," all rights reserved.