Zippo Squad, Vietnam to Detroit, 1967https://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/60337819_10162258865560179_529896155694235648_n.jpg?fit=960%2C640&ssl=1960640Paul David AdkinsPaul David Adkinshttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pauldavidadkins.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
— Let me win your heart and mind or I’ll burn your God damn hut down (inscription on a Vietnam War Zippo lighter casing)
Then Uncle Sam shipped the men home, vets of the Iron Triangle and Junction City, Malheur I and II.
Malcolm X explained that chickens always come home to roost,
that that hate we tucked in our breast pockets
like silver coffins would eventually pop open
and burn this country down to the White House frame.
So it was, that flipping lid
and thumb-worn wheel of flint,
the fuel-soaked wick which spooled the chimney spout
and burned the huts, some of which were empty,
sparked the first inferno on 12th Street at 8:24 a.m. on July 23rd.
Those chickens roosting, that war,
the cluck and click of lighters
flaring to kiss off boxes and rags,
puddles of gasoline and baskets of trash:
hearts and minds,
all so primed for burning.
Paul David Adkins lives in NY. In 2018, Lit Riot published his collection Dispatches from the FOB. Journal publications include Pleiades, River Styx, Rattle, Diode, Baltimore Review, Crab Creek, and Whiskey Island. He has received five Pushcart nominations and two finalist nominations from the Central NY Book Awards.