The Night You Returned
A road crew was paving the highway
the night you returned from the war.
It was March; they had set up floodlights;
the black viscous tar steamed in the cold.
The workmen didn’t notice you.
Why would they?
You weren’t any different
from all the other passersby that night
or any other night, just another car.
They had a machine;
they were laying macadam
mile after mile.
Black. Viscous. Steaming.
Mile after mile after mile.
Deep into the night.
W. D. Ehrhart is an ex-Marine sergeant and veteran of the American War in Vietnam. His latest book is Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems, McFarland & Company.