Friends Missing in Action
No one rode bulls
the first of our class to die in Vietnam.
His senior year, he steered a four-wheeled truck
with one gloved thumb, wide tires
like tiger paws, both windows down,
one elbow on the door, big arm
around his bride.
He gave Peggy a car
too light for the highway, blamed himself
when she crashed coming back
from her cousin's shower in Smyer --
West Texas gusts or a blowout,
losing control on a curve.
He sat for hours
by the casket
after her parents left. The night watch
offered rolls and coffee. Carl held the cup
in both big fists but never took a sip
as if he wouldn't risk, wouldn't stain
such spotless carpet with a single drop.