Von Thompson brings out the horrors and human costs of World War II’s Pacific Theater.
Battle of Midway, photo 80-G-701843
They didn’t bother with color film,
and perhaps that’s better.
From 20,000 feet no one can see
pink tinged foam hissing
on the beach or how blood
turns Marine green to muddy brown.
It’s easier to be objective
behind a wide angle lens,
to use terms like ground
forces and strategic losses, note
heavy shelling to the west
and assets out of commission.
It was harder to understand
screams of both progress and pain,
the whistle and ping of sheer damn luck,
the silence that fear built around
my father as he waited offshore
for the living to gain enough sand
so he could retrieve the dead.
Von Thompson has published with us before. Read her poem “Bones,” also about the Pacific Theater.
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Photo by Naval Historical Center