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The vocabulary chosen for use in "Welcome Home, Ken Wolfe" seems very carefully selected to convey the impression of short, sharply separated, distinct sounds - like the sound of gun shots. There are lots of hard initial "c" or "k" words and lots of one syllable words.
This poem comes from a book entitled Nobody Gets Off the Bus, published by Viet Nam Generation Press. As a poem apparently addressing a Viet Nam veteran, it is written to recognize the fighting and killing that is unavoidable in war. The emotions are straightforward and unadorned, unemotional at the time of the battle -
Your look of hatred...You see yourself as a killer, That you would kill again.
At the same time, however, the narrator in the poem is recognizing that the veteran has come home and needs to begin the process of returning to a peaceful relationship with people around him.
I caught you...I was faster at turning around,...at pretending to trust...I love you, For letting it happen.
The speaker understands the killer instinct that was essential during the veteran's presence in the war; the speaker appreciates the honesty between them, signalling that the veteran hasn't transitioned back to peace yet but is willing to indicate his true feelings to someone who cares about him enough to support him as he struggles to change his view of the world.
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