Vo l . 7 N o . 1
Marilyn Borell Two Poems
Boot Camp 1941 Dad sits on a box outside an army mess, in boots, white T-shirt, rolled up pants. Potato peels curl from his hand, spuds tumble from a bin holding hundreds more. In his future, wedding vows at Fort Dix, Atlantic crossing, Anzio Beach landing. Five months in a gun pit, Germans firing from the hills. A helmet of water a day. Shrapnel ripping his neck, his back, the Purple Heart that never made it home, though he did. Thank God.
But at Camp Haan, California, this summer afternoon, he is government issue, relaxed, tan, taking his turn.
Dad was a blue-collar worker, a union member. Sometimes the unions struck, often in winter. Tempers ran hot, bricks flew, money ran out. But we never didnâ€™t eat. Dad was a hunter and gatherer, filling the freezer with venison, partridge and grouse, blueberries and walleye pike. Our house was in town, but we lived off the land.