Bruce Weigl

            Girl at the Chu Lai Laundry

All this time I had forgotten.
My miserable platoon was moving out
One day in the war and I had my clothes in the laundry.
I ran the two dirt miles.
Convoy already forming behind me. I hit
The block of small hooches and saw her
Twist out the black rope of her hair in the sun.
She did not look up at me,
Not even when I called to her for my clothes.
She said I couldn't have them,
They were wet . . . .

Who would've thought the world stops
Turning in the war, the tropical heat like hate
And your platoon moves out without you,
Your wet clothes piled
At the feet of the girl at the laundry
Beautiful with her facts.

Bruce Weigl, Archeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems
Grove Press, 1999.