Returning Soldiers Speak
R.  S. Carlson
, a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University and was an Army Specialist 5th Class at the 8th Radio Research Field Station, Phu Bai, and the 407th Radio Research Detachment, Quang Tri Province, Viet Nam, 1970-1971, serving as a Vietnamese language Voice Intercept Operator and Translator/Interpreter; Gary Champagne is from The Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and is a member of The Pembina Band of Chippewa. He served in the Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller at McClellan AFB from 1979-80; Ken Klemm is a veteran of the United States Navy. He is currently moving forward with his life, moving from homelessness to housing and employment. He lives in Los Angeles with no wife, kids, or dogs;Terry Michael was born and raised in Mississippi, a country boy. He joined the army at 17 and left home to begin his military obligation fresh out of high school. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Unit during the Gulf War and was awarded two bronze stars;Leilani Squire is a writer, published poet and senior editor of Returning Soldiers Speak: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by Soldiers and Veterans. She facilitates weekly creative writing workshops for veterans;Burk Wiedner was born in 1935 in Berlin. He and his family survived the war but after Germany’s capitulation, their home lay a mere eighty yards outside city limits in what would shortly become Russian-controlled East Germany; plus poems and prose by Hugh Martin, Jim Terpstra and Ethan E Rocke.

Intravenous  by Hugh Martin

A rope of black smoke
above the city. Police sirens. The feet
of the crowd over pavement.
We don’t know who she is: barely
a year alive, her blue leggings wet, stuck
to the skin with her own blood.
Doc Johnson holds her head
like an orange in his open hand. He kneels
beside the white Opel while Kenson aims
the mounted light from his M4
through the shattered window to her face,
the glass spread around her
like rock salt on the brown
seat cushions. Doc scissors her cotton sleeve,
pushes his thumb to her arm for a vein—nothing
He finds one, eye to hairline, pulsing
with her screams; he wipes the skin
with antiseptic, and with one hand,
steadies her head as an Imam’s voice
blankets the night in waves; cars filled
with wounded weave around us with the dust.
Doc lowers the needle to this girl’s blue vein,
and it touches her skin like pricking
the Tigris on a smooth map of the earth.

İ 2014  Hugh Martin
Returning Soldiers Speak was a group of Featured Poets who read their poetry at the April 2014 Second Sunday Poetry Series