Never Too Late
by Mark Fleisher

I spotted the elderly fellow
with his black cane propped
against a grocery cart,
fringes of white wispy hair
peeking from his Vietnam vet cap

I waited while he spooned
rich, thick seafood gumbo
into a cardboard container
soon secured with
an appropriate-sized top

He looked about 80 years old,
thin, gaunt with a bent back
"Welcome home,' I said
to his obvious surprise;
"Thank you," he replied,
at the same time shaking
my hand with a firm grip

No need to say more
no need to ask what branch of service
no need to ask when were you there
no need to ask where were you stationed

One Vietnam vet to another
we said it all


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