Bush Vets

After World War II
some Japanese soldiers
remained hiding in the jungles,
in underground tunnels,
subsisting on roots and rats.
   lost warriors
curiosities to us Westerners:
but now, 30 years
since Nam we have
   lost warriors
of our own:  BUSH VETS,
like endangered Owls,
spotted now and again
in Hawaii or the Northwest,
clambering through the underbrush,
scrambling from sight,
solitary figures,
stooped, shaggy-haired, foraging
for food; packing .45s
and combat knives, waiting,
patiently waiting,
for the war to begin again.

Michael Estabrook, 55 years old