When Vietnam took all the boys and splayed them on the evening news, a boy, like most boys emulating most men, but especially in uniform, I was smitten with TV shows on World War Two, diluted versions without the gore, without the complications of falling red dominoes. After failing at catch, Dad tried again in a trifecta to win my affection. Dad fashioned a wooden machine gun (my deadly 30 cal.) to mow down Nazis in Normandy. Keenly, I provided the “rat-a-tat-tat.” However, screams and morphine were not included.

Dad built a cannon from a board and a pipe, artillery on wheels pulled behind my tricycle, a barrage devasting for the Hun. However, my little howitzer was mothballed, rusting when I began riding a real bike. Undeterred, Dad bought more lumber. Dad spent hours (I was not around) on the envy of all the other boys. An ace over France, I sat in the cockpit of my Spitfire shooting Messerschmitts from the sky. However, trouble was, it lacked altitude. I never left the driveway, never wore my parachute. Dad was on yet another sales call and I was home alone when I took a hammer to my grounded fighter. After the crash, it never flew again.

David Sapp, writer, artist and professor, lives along the southern shore of Lake Erie. A Pushcart nominee, he was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence grant and an Akron Soul Train fellowship for poetry. His poems appear widely in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom