Saturday, May 12, 2007
He hadn’t learned to walk; he’d learned to drill.
They dressed him up in camouflage, got
him a tiny rifle and combat boots, a hard
plastic helmet, sent him to patrol the yard
while Sergeant Dad pretended to be shot,
dead in his folding chaise with beers to kill.
By age six he’d killed a thousand men
or more, but never a woman, never a child.
He’d fired tons of ammo into the Nam,
tossed a million miracle grenades, and then,
in a last ditch, squared his jaw and smiled
and gave his life again for Uncle Sam.
Now he's dusting off the desert sand,
back from Baghdad, shy a hand,
both feet, and one clear eye,
learning to drill on his new hardware,
a spanking new, spring-loaded pair.
Vets with hands applaud as he totters by.
So all’s well, but for the crazy dreams:
every night he begs the president
to give him back his feet, never mind
the rest, but that worthy always seems
to be too busy petting God to find
out where the missing body parts are sent
once they’re not connected anymore.
But somewhere in the Pentagon they wait,
tagged and sorted into stenciled crates,
awaiting orders to rejoin the corps
if things go south and mandarins have found
we need the extra boots back on the ground.