The prompt: a hero
The response: a pair of prose poems. (Maybe I could write a book of portraits of exes.)
Hero –Tom 1 (1975)
You and your buddy enlisted together but they split you two up and you never knew what happened to him. You came back to Jersey at 26 and got a job driving my school bus. You didn’t have “a habit”—only used H occasionally, for a treat. The rest of the time it was scotch and quality pot, which you could roll with one hand. What teenage girl wouldn’t idolize you? When we walked across a field, you told me you were having a flashback. Mud and walking did that, but you didn’t mind too much. You felt best when the weather was hot as New Jersey could make it and humid, rowing your rickety boat in the Hackensack River where no one normal would dip in a toe.
Hero—Tom 2 (1995)
Your mother had prayed a rosary for you every day and I thought that’s why the shrapnel, scalping you, left you with brain enough to function, so long as you took the anti-seizure meds. You didn’t believe in prayer and didn’t tell me about the toupee until I tried to mess up your hair, because there ought to have been something to do with it that would look a little more presentable. I guess you knew you weren’t presentable, so you built a log cabin in the woods and lived there with a sweet dog. A narrow bridge spanned a stream at the bottom of your property. I was always amazed it held my car, when I came and when I left.