Christmas Leave .... 1967
Jungle war was on the news.
And so were bells. I heard the toll
And then a jingle.
As I bent down to brush my shoes
A holiday commercial
Interrupted the tingle of artillery.
I spit, as I was trained to do,
Then rubbed my life out,
Hoping it would re-appear,
First at the heel,
Then somewhere forward
Near the toe.
And though I never could get quite the glow
Expected of Marines on leave,
I shined my soul into those shoes,
For midnight mass on Christmas Eve.