A TRUE WAR STORY
My friend's uncle
was a Marine in Korea.
His squad came to a cluster of huts,
smoke drifting up from one.
The squad leader ordered him
to go into that hut,
to kill everyone inside.
He stepped cautiously through the door
and waited for his eyes to adjust.
In the dim light he saw a Korean grandmother,
terrified children huddled up against her.
He squeezed the trigger on his M1,
emptied it into the thatched roof,
and stepped back out
through that doorway.
No one spoke.
when he told the old people
what he had done,
they gave him a new name:
and made him
The Giver of Names
for new-born children.
* * *
Roger Dunsmore has spent the last 45 years as a poet and university professor. During that time, he has published several collections of poetry and twice been short-listed to the governor for the position of Poet Laureate of Montana. "A True War Story" is included in Dunsmore's latest collection: You're Just Dirt.
Listen to Chérie Newman's conversation with Roger Dunsmore.