Tuesday, January 29, 2013


photoart from SAC photo


by Michael Kriesel

Standing in the doorway with a beer,
he always offered me a can
when I got home.
Ted was a retired navy chief
who lived next door
and drank alone,
but I’d been in the navy,
so we’d stand and shoot the shit
sometimes until the moths came out.

One time he told me how
he ran the war at night
when all the brass went home.
Ted was at the Pentagon during Vietnam.
Every night he’d get these giant photographs
from air reconnaissance to analyze.
Every night he’d tell
the pilots what to bomb.

I didn’t understand back then
the way he drank alone
with his own ghost,
though now I’m old enough
to just be glad I never
had the luck to kill someone—
much less whole photographs.

~ first published in Chiron Review