That Summer of Last Youth

Your brother accidentally drowned
while everyone else was looking away

and then your father took that dive
into the lonely grain elevator and

a few days later you had to go
off to work where you always

came back smelling of mustard and
grease and unanswered questions

Then we took our final drive together
only you had failed to inform me

there would never be another

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Bill McCloud

Bill McCloud, a three-time Teacher of the Year, has been teaching American history since 1974. His new book, The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969, published by the Balkan Press, consists of 107 poems that take the reader, chronologically, through his year in Vietnam. David Willson, poetry editor of the VVA Veteran says the poems rank “right at the top of the heap” of Vietnam War poetry. Dr. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, the current poet laureate of Oklahoma, calls the book “necessary reading.”

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