Poem 13, June 13

Chester Johnson, Poem Five

I went to the Navy in 1942.
I served in World War II,
the Korean War they say was not a war,
and I served in the Vietnam War.  

I was at Guadalcanal
and on the USS Missouri
as a Petty Officer Third Class
from the USS Iowa on September 2, 1945.  

I was there to help wire
a sound system that would be used
by General McArthur. Tojo was there.
I was up on the crowded, second deck  

of the battleship,
looking down
on the signing event.
It’s still hard for me
to grasp
how Truman’s two bombs
our world forever.