Afghan Vet at Scott’s Run Lake

Cool summer morning, one canoe drifting on gentle summer winds
Two old-timers setting up canvas chairs lakeside
One young lady halfway up the western shore
In a folding lawn chair, her blond hair sun-glistened,
And at her side, a blond dog restful, attentive
This is peace by deception, by treaty with loss overcome
What she lacks is not will, not income or even, real hope
Her legs are missing, the shiny titanium replacements
Poking out from her cut-off jeans—
                                                                        The mission completed,
Her squad blown apart, the living, the dead, those in pieces
Uncles, sons, daughters and nieces, medical evacuation
To field morgue or field surgery station, bloody stumps like torches
Unseen, unnoticed by great generations rocking on porches—

Some say fishing is a kind of therapy, patience and anticipation
A fish leaps far out, a deer sips in the shallows
Ten yards to her left, she sees the swirl of a bass in green mirrors
And makes a perfect cast, as the lure splashes, something flashes
A three pound smallmouth leaps for his life
Trying to shake the hook, then heads for deeper water
But she is a fisherman’s daughter keeping up the pressure
Until the quarry tires, until she lips him and admires
The bronze fish under the golden sun, wild being eyeing her back—

For a moment, nothing is missing
For a moment, the bass lingers after being released
For a moment, all that is left of her is at peace.

Tim Dyson is a retired HR professional, who took up writing after a more than thirty-year break. He has had two poems nominated for the 2011 Pushcart Prize, and many others appearing in a variety of publications.

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