On board the Cassin D. Young this afternoon
an elderly gentleman with bright clear eyes and brown corduroys,
his flannel shirt tucked in, warm in the March sun
and the breeze off Boston harbor, gestured
with his hands to show the angle the Japanese pilot took
before disintegrating against the bridge.
He glances across the Navy yard
as one hand sweeps cutting the skyline just off the street
on a flat trajectory
across the slim waist
of the swerving ship.
Traces remain but not the men sunburned on gray,
the running and the powderstung sweating in the
The pistons are dry.
Old radios smell of cloth wire and warm bakelite
faintly, the galley scoured stainless steel, the
the CIC plots bearings of empty space.
He smiles gently, he comes from somewhere
quiet, some tidy house by the Navy Yard,
putting on the pin that says Rememberer.
It matches mine that says Witness.
Both of us are casualties of this peace.
The warship rocks tenderly, in Atlantic silence.
I look up the slope of her rising sheer, and wait,
the sun is warm on the light grey paint.
The plane, jumping and smoking, under heavy fire,
turns onto its mad course.
Andrew Rotch is a 33-year old printer and a caretaker
living in the Boston area. Largely unpublished, he
believes the best is yet to come.
Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/poetry/rotcha_vol.htm