by Kevin Griffin 

In Pelican Rapids, in July,
the dried wheat fields just outside town still
snivel for raindrops. Looking to cool
down in dammed water, kids pedal bikes
to the mill pond where, in ’49,
my Uncle Bob sat up high, minding,
lifeguard eyeing children on the brink.
Hair was leaving the top of his head.
He was quite sure he would die there one day.

Two and three years on, he was pushing
Graves Registration lists across desks
in Korea.  Like winters back home
bodies kept coming, young revenants
needing one last person to see them
for who they were, what they had become.
At times he saw big black clouds shadow
the startled, sun-drenched northern mountains.
At times he thought: each glazed eye teaches me.

Bob came back, stayed close to Grandma’s house,
worked the Moorhead High School Library
thirty-four years. Dove dumpsters weeknights,
bartered junk at Sunday flea markets.
Lived alone. Never thought of the war.
Except sometimes, in springtime, on drives
home, when fat drops surprised his windshield:
how no one in town would ever see
them the way he did. How they never could.

Kevin Griffin is an English and Creative Writing teacher at Detroit Catholic Central High School and lives in Plymouth, Michigan, with his wife and two sons. His first chapbook, Line and Hook, was published by the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press in 2017. His poems have been published in The Broad River Review, Common Ground Review, The Garfield Lake Review, The MacGuffin, Sheepshead Review, Third Wednesday, and Up North Literary Journals, among others.