Written by Cassidy Bull
Art by Mark Vegera

Drafted to Vietnam,
eighteen years young,
already an aircraft
Through the Air
Force flown across the world with brothers, one
in a set of dominoes.
Bought a car on the base
for two hundred dollars—
a tradition,
a rite of passage.
Drove too fast for fun down the length of the base
and back again, and again,
fixed it up when it broke down.
Sold the car upon leaving
for two hundred dollars—
passed on the tradition,
the rite of passage.
Stories within stories told
of legendary pilots,
of visiting villagers,
of writing letters home.
Aviator impossibilities,
evasive maneuvers upside down loops and twists, narrowly
avoids being shot down.
Unreal claims, but when
Papa climbed up for repairs,
the wing top was sticky and damp— covered in rice paddy remains.

Terraced grain fields
carved into mountain sides, glorious greens seen
from the hill.
Densely forested terrain
interspersed with rolling plains, fog follows all, floods follow typhoons during monsoon season.

Drafted to Vietnam,
but that’s not entirely true.
Papa was almost drafted,
enlisted instead.
Knew if he was drafted,
he’d have to fight the futile fight. Enlisted to be a mechanic
so he could fix, not fight.