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 But I Never Saw There Faces

As the war raged in Southeast Asia, I was serving
On the USS Flint, a floating ammo storehouse.
Deep within our holds were pallet upon pallet of bombs
As they awaited their destinations, their dharma.
Along our port and starboard sides would come ship after ship;
Destroyers, guided missile frigates, aircraft carriers.
Each hungry for our load as we unrepped through the night;
But I Never Saw Their Faces.

My job was to hook up then assist the pallets on their way,
As massive hydraulic heads transferred the load from ship to ship.
My hands gently guided the packages off our deck.
Nightly the ships came, for forty days on each rotation;
Pallet after pallet, I hooked up and watched them into the night.
I still remember my thoughts as I did my duties each shift.
I remember the chill each time I placed my hands upon the cold steel;
But I Never Saw Their Faces.

Time became a blur as I intentionally dulled my thoughts.
I refused to think about each bombs destination in North Vietnam.
The munitions would stare death coldly back to me each night;
I would turn my head away, but I could still hear the children cry.
They were our enemies, I would comfort myself.
Their deaths were not the same as ours, I would try to  convince myself,
But I had visions of explosions, of destruction, of death, of pain;
But I Never Saw Their Faces.

As I write this I realize the quietness within my soul;
No tears, no breaking heart, no emotions; just regrets.
My heart has become as cold as the metal upon those pallets,
As I have shut down my emotions in this area of my life.
I look into my heart and I shutter as I realize the coolness,
The aloofness as I separate and rationalize within my mind.
I still know the deaths of thousands were touched by my hands,
But I Never Saw Their Faces.

Written after a meditation where in the peace, I remembered.

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