Better Maimed Than Marxist
by Michael Murry
At our U.S. Navy advanced tactical support base
on the banks of a muddy brown river
not far from the southernmost tip of South Vietnam,
I injured my right middle finger
in a pickup volleyball game one Sunday afternoon.
Our little base infirmary had no X-ray equipment;
I had to take a helicopter ride north,
to a larger, Army base possessing
better medical equipment and facilities
to see if I had broken any bones in my hand.
Walking down a hospital corridor,
I passed a room full of Vietnamese patients
who had no arms or legs.
I experienced a disorienting sense of scale compression,
unexpectedly witness to already small lives made minuscule in a moment,
like seeing living dollar bills cut down to the size of postage stamps,
or sentient silver quarters suddenly shrunk to copper pennies.
Copyright © 2012 by