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The Drive Thru

by Marykay Kowalski

He watches me circle around to the entrance. Does he see it?
The title, ashamed, his hat, my sticker
Is he a vet? an addict? a beggar?
He rolls to the “walk-up” window. I drive my truck
He sees it, does he know.
He does, He knows.
Will he say something? Should I?
What if it was a car accident, a work thing?
It wasn’t, I know.
I smile and he smiles back, I drive away and he salutes.

Marykay Kowalski served in the peacetime Army. She comes from a large family – more than half of her siblings have served or are currently serving our country, either on active duty or as a military spouse. This poem was inspired by a Vietnam veteran who resides in Hamilton, Ohio.