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Here you will find the writings of the poet Theodore Waterfield

Fort Chaffee

Departure
from heart and home.
Going to a southern city
with southern gold,
shining on its roofs,
Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In my own country
a foreign land to me,
that looked like America.
Going to an Army post
to continue basic training
in my country’s army.

The city and fort,
conjoined twins,
carryover from the frontier.
America, a jigsaw
of civilization.
Ancestors that left
hearts and home
and swallowed their losses
to face wilderness.
People immune to fear,
but no more than the people
they replaced.
Should I have been afraid?
Should I have believed
what could happen here?

That night I almost died
from sun stroke
under the prairie’s sun.
No one knew except a brother
how close the closing of the future
came, and
all the poems that followed from my living
through time,
would have found
no first word for my children,
or children’s children,
or their lives, from me.

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