Soldier’s Return

Soldier’s Return

the young man in desert fatigues

quietly accepts thanks from

the mouths of grateful citizens

arrayed in defensive positions

against exploding spit

and phantom missiles from

reporters missing in action.

the young man in desert fatigues

quietly walks through the airport.

he looks at no one applauding him

in spurts of ovation, clean hands

clapping, that bear none of the red

terror he rubs off in his dreams

of heat and smoke and limbs burning

small arms like big arms

quivering in the street

at midday prayer.

These trophies few citizens

imagine in their grateful

awe and chest warming pride.

the young man in desert fatigues

quietly embraces his comrades

waiting at the gate in desert fatigues

less tired now to be in the company

of others like him who know

that despite the devotions of patriot believers,

what the monument will not say

rises from the blood sopped dust :

somebody killed those babies.

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