The Ladling of Agent Orange

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Anything can set him off.
Been that way for 40 years
since he came back from Nam.

He got spooked at dawn today
by a spider web dripping from a tree
he walked into when his dog

took him for his morning walk.
After lunch he brushed his teeth
and cried about a doctor

who died the other day.
He reads the obits every day
for names of men he served with.

His therapist believes his stress
may be magnified by contact
with Monsanto’s Agent Orange.

To win the war, America ladled it
in layers thick all over Vietnam.
He managed to avoid the Cong

but never knew about Monsanto
and the ladling of Agent Orange.
He may have stepped in it at times.

Back home, he’s shaky and unsure
but determined now to find the gook
who dropped that spider web.

He’ll take his pistol tomorrow morning.
He and the dog will watch the trees.
There’s always more than one.

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