Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

larry thacker

cnn: john kerry visits site where
he killed a viet cong soldier


1969. My country sends me to these
muddy river miles, to find you:

search and destroy, move to contact.
Root out the delta rice farmer by day,
VC riverbank ambusher by night.
Send rounds downstream, grenades,
lead men when the world explodes.
Take the lives of the nameless.

2017. My country sends me to these
muddy river miles, to find your ghost:

seek hands to shake, move in a new time.
Float the river standing tall, wondering
on the exactness of memory. Stepping
onto friendlier banks full of roots,
touring the ancient rice paddies again.
Finally learning the name of the one.

Larry D. Thacker’s poetry can be found in over eighty publications including The Still Journal, Poetry South, Mad River Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Mojave River Review, Mannequin Haus, Ghost City Press, Jazz Cigarette, and Appalachian Heritage. His books include Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry books, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the forthcoming, Drifting in Awe. Visit his website at: