With the smell of firebombing
still in his nose,
he brings our plates to the table
pausing for a vertiginous instant,
holding them as though they are two stones.
When he tries to smile his face
turns purple like sky above
that Red River delta.
He once stood against a tree
with both arms above his head,
like somebody about to dance
flamenco, but he wasn't, it was
the time of the Spring Offensive,
and he was looking into the barrel
of a rifle held by a boy
whose trigger finger
had turned to stone.