After the Roll
John Wayne, our foster father, raised
a generation of boys fathered by men
who lived to prove they were cut
from the quiet man’s cloth—tight lipped,
hard living with a swagger. Like the Duke,
they all went to war and took out brigades
of Krauts and Japs with a few grenades
and starter pistols. They never cried
or bled much. When they got winged,
drop-dead gorgeous nurses patched
them up. They nursed their pain
with liquor and proved to each other
that they were men among men
who never cried or said I love you.
They went through life poker faced
except when anger got the best of them
which they expressed with a good,
Why I oughta! followed by a fist or two.
These men kept their secrets, their battles,
their wars to themselves until the final credits
rolled. And we, their sons, are left wondering
just what a best boy is supposed to do.
Alan Berecka is a librarian who lives near Corpus Christi, Texas. His poetry has been published various outlets including the Christian Century, Ruminate, The Blue Rock Review and Right Hand Pointing. He has authored two collections of poetry: The Comic Flaw (NeoNuma Arts, 2009) and Remembering the Body (Mongrel Empire Press, 2011). For those interested in more information about the poet and his work, check out www.alanberecka.com