The Kansas poet H. C. Palmer, a battalion surgeon in the American War in Vietnam, addresses the effects of trauma on our war veterans.

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H.C. Palmer

Verse Daily
The Kansas poet H. C. Palmer, a battalion surgeon in the American War in Vietnam, addresses the effects of trauma on our war veterans.

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Finding Work After War

By H. C. Palmer

Our sons join the army to get work being shot at.

—Jim Harrison  

 

For a long time there were simultaneous 

wars, so work was good.  Now the wars 

are winding down and our poor 

are unemployed.  They phone

government hotlines then get disconnected.

I know a stonemason disabled from battling

his chisel.  He says there will always be his kind

of work—thousands of gravestones 

stockpiled in the quarries of Vermont.  

He says he’s willing to teach,

but worries some might inscribe 

their own names.

H. C. Palmer, a retired Internist, served as a Battalion Surgeon with the First

Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1965-66. His work has appeared in New Letters,

Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, War Literature and the Arts, Narrative Magazine,

The New Mexico Poetry Review, I-70 Review, Flint Hills Review, Gray’s

Sporting Journal and other journals and anthologies. His first book of poems is

Feet of the Messenger (BkMk Press, 2017). He works with a veterans writing program in

partnership with the Kansas City Public Libraries, The Writers Place and the

Moral Injury Association of America. See https://www.feet-of-the-messenger.com/

 

 
 

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