In his dreams he is still marching across endless paved paths on an Air Force Base that might be Texas or might just be hell. In his recollection, in July there is virtually no difference between the two. He stirs each time his Drill Instructor bellows, which is every few minutes, likely seconds in this dream. He is sweating through his uniform, finds it absurd to be wearing high combat boots in the heat and humidity. But he realizes that he has enlisted in the Air Force, a four year hitch in the theater of the absurd. He awakens in a sweat and peers out the window at the building snow on the lawn.


I enter the station house
and walk up to the neck high desk.
I would like to report
a missing person.
I have been gone
more than twenty-four hours.
I can’t give
a very good description,
my eyes see in the mirror
a still young man
sitting in a park in Salt Lake City
in the drum circle
passing the joint and jug of wine,
my ears hear a voice
deep and rich, reverberating
through the microphone
preaching subversion
to the youth of Rochester,
my fingers touch the cheeks
of the girl perched next to me
on the outcropping overlooking
the middle falls down from the inn
the sun dancing
off her long black hair,
my nose smells the sour odor
of JP-4 Jet Fuel
and the exhaust of the F-102
and the beer soaking the floor
of the base NCO Club
late in the evening,
I can the taste of salt
of the sweat in the hollow
of her neck as we lay
in a moment of reflection
as the Greek sun
beat down outside the window.
Sergeant if you find me
please call me immediately
for I am terribly concerned
at my absence, it is
so out of character.


First appeared in modified form in The Worcester Review, Vol. 21, Nos. 1-2 (2000)