The Longest Night of My Life
We’d been humping the boonies up by the DMZ
for a couple of weeks. November 1967.
Hard work. And every night a new fighting hole.
And the one-man poncho tent.
This night, we were on the side of a hill.
I didn’t bother to trench my tent. It wasn’t
raining. And the soil farther south had never
needed that. And I was tired.
And fell asleep fast. But I woke up later
to find myself in the midst of a raging river
cascading down the hillside. It was raining.
And the soil up here absorbed nothing.
Raining hard. Cold in November.
Me already utterly soaked. Teeth chattering.
No dry clothes. No place dry. Middle of nowhere.
Sunrise hours away. Five? Maybe six.
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.