Photograph of My Father By R. Cary

Photograph of My Father

By R. Cary

Bullets drape both men’s bodies. My father, the man on the left, will soon be shot. Not by one of these bullets, but another. Vietnam, they called it, the jungle living behind my father. I was almost born here, in Vietnam. Maybe my sister too. When he was shot, he had just finished his boom boom with a bar girl. That is what he called it at least. On the left is my father, holding a rifle. To his left, my right in this photo is another young man. I have no idea who he is. But he is there. About 5 foot 7 inches, a few inches less than the man on his right, my father. That is all that is there. A square paper holding two men with a jungle behind them. I always thought my father was born in 1944. He told everyone that. But when my father came down with Parkinsons, I discovered all his records, as the VA became a part of my week. April 14, 1943 is my father’s birthday according to the Marine Corps. April 14, 1944 according to the city of Chicago. When he was dying, I asked my father, ‘did you lie about your age to go to Vietnam?’ He only laughed, which is all he could ever do. Parkinsons, they called it. Agent orange. He automatically qualifies for full VA benefits. This photo, he would never talk about it. Ever. Vietnam never existed to him. On March 13th, 2017, Vietnam still took his life even though he refused to let Vietnam take his life, as Vietnam never existed to him.


Photograph of My Father

By R. Cary

Copyright 2023


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