Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
November-December 2004, Volume 2, Number 6

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Haibun: Robert Wilson


Vietnam Rumination

in the jungle,
a christmas tree
made of skin

Imagine for a moment, celebrating Christmas in the jungles of the Vietnam. The year is 1968. You graduated from high school the previous year. This is your first Christmas away from home. And the first time you have been out of the country.

You are eating canned rations with some of your buddies. Reminiscing about past Christmases, making the most of a difficult situation. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the unmistakable sound of an incoming mortar. And another. The sky is raining shrapnel. Bullets whiz past you. There is nowhere to hide. You and your buddies dive to the jungle floor, your weapons aimed in the direction of enemy fire, your hearts beating a hundred miles an hour.

As soon as the firefight starts, it stops. It is time to clean up and assess the damages. Your first Christmas away from home. Hanging on the tree in front of you, bits and pieces of someone you'd reminisced with an hour earlier.

Robert Wilson, a Vietnam veteran, is the owner/managing editor of Simply Haiku. He is also the author of Vietnam Ruminations, a book of haibun about the Vietnam War. Click here for a more complete biography.