Wednesday, 25 October 2017

A Letter to Sgt. Bergdahl on the Matter of His Recent Confession

When I was in my late teens, around the age

you were when you enlisted and deployed,

I watched reruns of the 1965 TV drama Branded,

alongside my father, a WWII Vet.

Every week during the opening credits,

army cavalry captain Jason McCord, accused

of cowardice, is publicly humiliated, dishonorably

dismissed from the military, epaulets torn

from his uniform, saber broken.

A snare drum palpitates, the theme song swells,

… they said he ran away.

Turns out General James Reed, McCord’s superior,

took leave of his senses when confronted in battle.

Men died. In a last ditch effort, McCord takes action

meant to sway the commander but ends up

severely beaten, bloodied, nearly dead.

But hey, somebody had to take the fall

for the whole debacle, you feel me?

A few episodes in, a reporter gets wind of others

who had questioned the General’s mental state,

igniting debate over motivations of higher ups.

For the sake of really great journalism, I will add

the self-aggrandized politician who calls

for McCord’s execution from the stump.

My father would curse, yell at the television.

McCord’s barely more then a boy he’d say,

having been so himself when he returned

from the Philippines, a metal plate in his head,

admitting to have shit himself more then once.

He wore dark circles under his eyes

and plead guilty every single day.

© Kari Gunter-Seymour

Bowe Bergdahl, Called a ‘Traitor’ by President Trump, Pleads Guilty

Kari Gunter-Seymour is the mother of a Middle East Vet and twice a pushcart nominee. Her poems can be found in Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Stirring and on her website.