by Nick Orton
Author’s Note: I wrote this sitting on an AFB in Hawaii watching my kids play. I wanted to convey my sudden realization that, with the growing clouds of uncertainty on the horizon concerning the Pacific, I wont be far from the front lines.
There are worst places to be,
In a garrison Army,
Than a Pacific paradise,
Half a world away.
Such luck to call a place home,
A great deal to have been dealt.
Diving beneath the turquoise waters.
Holding your breath.
This is a good place to relax,
A comforting place to dream,
And a fine place to start a family.
It’s hard to be unhappy in the tropical Sun,
While you’re bumming on a beach,
Paid by for by government funds.
The work here isn’t bad,
Some field exercises in the jungle,
and early release on Fridays.
The occasional short deployment,
To some foreign country or island,
Is more of an adventure than a hardship.
Tropic rains come and go,
Unlike the green that blooms,
But it’s easy to forget in the land of Aloha,
That a dark storm grows on the horizon.
A dragon twists and slithers,
So far yet so close,
It’s talons reaching outstretched,
As it bides it’s time,
In the gathering tropical clouds.
When and where the storm makes landfall,
Only the dragon knows…
And it’s easy to forget you’re here on the wall,
A vigilant post disguised as a vacation.
As your children laugh and play in the surf,
And your wife sings from the garden.
Ignorance is bliss when you finally understand,
In silent horror as you watch over sleeping children.
Your home won’t be far from the FLOT.
A dragon has attacked the wall once before,
With the Rising Sun on its back.
Many men lay dead in the deeps embrace,
Forgotten islands their final resting place.
The dragon never dies it’s just replaced,
Staring out over the vast Pacific.
But for right now,
As my family plays upon the wall.
We hold our breath.
FLOT: Forward Line of Troops
Nick “Orton” is a pseudonym for an active-duty member of the US Army and logistics officer who has spent over eight years navigating life in the post-GWOT Army. He can be reached through the Instagram account @Tales_From_The_Gridsquare or email: TalesFromTheGridSquare@gmail.com. Occasional poetry can be viewed at: @Deadlined_Poetry (Instagram).
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.