I See You Walking

I see you walking in 1969,
we all stopped to stare;
one hand holding your jungle hat
on the back of your head.

There, heading for the infirmary,
American girl in olive green,
feminine walk, lush figure,
auburn pigtails below the hatbrim.

Moving away, you never saw us,
and I never bled on your stretcher;
never held your hand, nor saw your face.
But I see you walking...still.

I watched you with wonder and lust,
an American nurse...in VietNam...
Good God!...but I was only 23,
and now I'm more than twice that.

I didn't know in '69 what I know now,
about me, and maybe about you.
Didn't know the price we'd pay
all this time...all these years.

I saw you then with college eyes,
pink carnations , imagined perfume.
I didn't know the blood you'd see,
I forgot the weapons that I carried.

I still see you walking, that dusty road,
that hair so red...from time to time.
I know you did great good, your tour...
lust and amazement became respect.

I never knew your name, GI Nurse,
but I wish you well, and I hope
that you sleep in peace...
I close my eyes sometimes
and I see you walking.

Copyright © 1996 James M.Hopkins