Social Justice Poetry

At the Wall | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

The wall stands somber
On that windy morning
Gales blowing rain
Into my face
I look at the names
Finding a school chum
A poor boy
His fate sealed
By lack of opportunity
Not unlike
Other 1A card carriers
Unable to afford college
To find a doctor
Who would shield them
From the draft
He believed
Willing to wear
The green
To fight in a land
Beyond his knowledge
One day in America
Experiencing the good life
The next
Landing in a strange world
A land of constant
Four months
Of wading paddies
Four months of ambushes
Intense firefights
Then the pajama-clad phantoms
A land mine
In a clearing
A fatal step
And his life ended
Not the homecoming
We wished for him
But we gathered
Just the same
To hear the minister
Searching for an answer
Then sharing memories
Good times
With the boy
We knew
I took the paper
Placing it
Against the wall
Dragging the pencil
Across the paper
His name rising
On the page
Bold letters
I have read
Over and over
Remembering each time
The futility of Vietnam

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