War haiku - haibun

Belated Casualty

by John J. Dunphy

After years of battling depression, alcoholism and drug addiction, a Vietnam veteran committed suicide in the late 1970s. Long estranged from his family, the vet's ashes were kept by a fellow Nam vet.

About ten years after his friend's death, this vet journeyed to Washington to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - "The Wall" - where the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who were killed during the war are inscribed on black granite. While the suicide's name would never be added to The Wall, he could still join his fallen comrades.

blowing across
names of war dead
a suicide's ashes

(originally published in the Fall 2000 issue of Modern Haiku)

Copyright John J. Dunphy, 2000