When the old vet told me about his
first experience in a fire-fight,
when a metal-jacket bullet
ripped through his khaki jacket,
I asked him if he saw it.
“Saw what?” he asked.
“Your life flash before your eyes,” I said.
“Hell, no, sonny,” he said. “That didn’t
even happen in jump school
when the guy behind me’s silk
pulled a Mae West on top of me
for a couple thousand feet.
I don’t think it actually happens.”
Well, I figured he should know.
But I had to check. I didn’t see it either.
Not when some punk sliced that knife
through my shirt in that dark
Third Street hallway. And all I saw
were circles of steel probably big
as my eyeballs when that farmer
pushed his revolver in my face
while I tried taking a photo of possible
illegal picking his apples.
I’m not sure who came up with that
trope of your life passing before your eyes
in that instant you feel you might die
Possibly he was inexperienced in the true
experience of perceiving imminent death.
Poem Number 5 for poem a day April. And Experience/Inexperience poem…I think.