Dogs 2010

NORTHERN TIER
(6/10/10)


New Jersey
Alaska
New York
Alaska
Minnesota
Alaska
Maine

back
and forth
describing
some diagonal
DEW line
of detachment
and depravity

at least
I was spared
the severe summers
of my West Texas
youth

I try
to remember
standing
on a still frozen
Bering Sea
about this time
in June
then unable
to imagine
a true
scorching
season

I could feel
cracking ice
under foot
the frozen ocean
shrinking closer
breaking up
returning
to a watery
state

now
I walk
the usual
four miles
with my wife
sweating profusely
in the Oklahoma
heat and
humidity

the Arctic
decades away
brings little solace
as shoes
stick to pavement
with each step
in a world
diffused
with Fata
Morgana

I smile
however
knowing that
shorts
and tee shirt
on a sweltering
Tulsa afternoon
are far better
than full
battle gear
in the true heat
of Kandahar
waiting
for the next
bullet

post
Vietnam
by birth
my Persian Gulf days
spent in Caribou
watching dials
meters
and digital displays
today
too old
to be considered
a target
in any
theater
but domestic

my service
was of
the caretaker
variety
and my
only battles
internal

still
I will
always miss
wearing long
sleeves
in July