Flame Thrower

by Bill Yarrow


It was 2:00 in the afternoon
on Tuesday, July 11, 1959.
I was sitting in the air-conditioned Capitol Theater
watching Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill.

The theater was empty
but looking back
how could it have been?
Why would it have been?

Wouldn't I have looked around
to see who else was there?
Maybe not. On the screen in front of me
enemy soldiers confronted flame throwers.

Flame throwers! Strapped to the backs
of soldiers. Hoses spitting flame.
I had never seen anything like them.
I couldn't turn my eyes away.


Fifty years later...
Fifty films later...
Fifty wars later...

Fifty-six years later
watching people burn
has lost much of its appeal.