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Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
Poetry by Patrick Walsh

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

There I was, a young man getting ready to jump,
Sprawled on the tarmac, hand on my reserve, paint-daubed
And smelling like ass from having to hump
An 80-pound ruck two weeks in the field;
Just wishing I could get me a piece

Of that prop-blast, a cool comb through the hair
Of the median grass. And standing up there
Is this seasoned NCO, a regular Falstaff in fatigues,
Easy and loose with a joke and a laugh.
What I had before me was an ancient form

Come down from hoplites and legionnaires.
The C-130 turned, taxied, and flew. It all got quiet again.
That’s when he let slip that old sage warhorse:
“Smoke ’em if you got ’em, men.”

Copyright © Patrick Walsh 2002

Patrick Walsh’s poetry has been published in The Hudson Review, The Shop, College Green, Cimarron Review, The Recorder, U.S. 1, and Markings, Fred Johnston’s literary page out of Galway.

These poems may not be archived or distributed further without
the author’s express permission. Please read the license.

This electronic version of Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em is published by The Richmond Review by arrangement with the author. For rights information, contact The Richmond Review in the first instance


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