A Golden Palace in The Sky

We saw the blond light. We saw the whirling. We heard nothing but our own blank thoughts. He was gone, hurt but not gut-hurt, he was gone and here we were. Envy evaporated in the thick jungle air and all that reached him was a thin wave of our collective blessings.

We took that hill. They took that hill. We had no need or want for that hill. We didn't think about whether they did. There was a mist that had a name. We didn't choose to name it. The name isn't important. The mist was too important. In that mist everything was calm and hope was gently interlaced with the calm. We wished the mist would come. We wished it wouldn't because it would leave.

At night we would say the same things to each other we did in basic, but in country they seemed like lies. Come on, you would drive past the Dairy Queen with your girlfriend, eight, ten twenty times on a warm summer Saturday night? As if there was such a place, where you could go and order sundaes and chili dogs at a window and a few minutes later get the food and take it to a picnic table by a nondescript stream. Now it's my turn. I was born in a golden palace in the sky.

About the author:

Joseph Leff has published in a variety of journals, anthologies, and newspapers including The Adirondack Review, Cascade of Hooves, The New York Times, Confrontation, Watchword and 11211. He has an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Santa Monica, CA where, among other things, he teaches writing at the Los Angeles Public Library main branch.