30 Years by Gary Lillie

You went with me to the
Vietnam Veterans Art Museum
It was the weekend I helped you move
your things back to Chicago
Summer was nearly through and
your sophomore year at Northwestern
would soon begin

I expected the art to be dark
still, was caught by surprise
There was none of the humor
Should have realized humor doesn’t
need to be purged from your soul
I watched you, wondering
if you would judge us harshly

You said 'No'
I can't even imagine what you went through
The photos and art just don't connect
if you have no experience to relate them to
I was just thinking,
there are a lot worse places
I could be at 19

We drove away in silence,
me remembering, you reflecting
I've never cried over Vietnam,
kept it bottled up inside,
that day I almost broke the seal
I'm sorry if at times
I've made you feel uncomfortable,
but it's been an emotional 30 years