It's The P B I

the P B I
the Poor Bloody Infantryman
that’s what the Americans don’t understand
the old man intoned
it all comes down to the P B I
The P B I.
The Poor Bloody Infantryman.

He had never talked of war before
never used strong language
We were sitting together, in his study
he is leaning forward
his tin leg stretched out.

When his nation called, my Grandfather followed
fought in France until a German shell took his leg
and for the rest of his life he walked with a limp
dragging a heavy metal leg
attached to his body with a heavy harness
and now he was telling me how the Americans
should be fighting their war in Vietnam
with men and courage
it’s a hard slog and it all rests
with the P B I,
The Poor Bloody Infantryman
not long distance bombing raids
for once the bombs stop
it's the B P I that does the job.
The Poor Bloody Infantryman.

He was a war hero (I suppose)
a strong man with a strong moral compass
a compass so strong so straight
he was an antique.

I did not want to discuss war
not his war
nor the war I was dodging
and I did not want to explain
to a man who had fought for two years
and only returned when maimed
why I was avoiding war.
I did not ask him about his war
nor did I ask him how he was wounded
where he was wounded, instead
I told him I had to go
I had things to do.

I never saw him again.

Now I know nothing about his war.
His wounds.
His life.

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Copyright 2017© by Peter D. Goodwin