Hear the swift and sundry
Shots cleaving hot air from cold;
The rounds of unrepentant rifles
Rippling through the issued uniforms
Of a diocese’s duty-bound boys,
Marching to cadences
Bandied with an esprit de corps.
Now stare upon the consequences,
The results of patriarchal
on homeland hunting grounds
Unctioned with the blood of game
And cultivated on winning fields,
The baseball fields,
The grid-ironed fields,
The basic training fields,
And now the killing fields,
No longer as civic or civil.
Tag their toes and
Reckon the sums
Of these dead;
Dancers just a year or so ago
On a floor strewn with white
at their senior year prom;
Pledges to your sanctioned
And sanctimonious recruiting tour.
Here are the body-bagged dreamers,
Who, once lusting to
Lie and roll in beds less deep
fitted than these,
have come home in folds to
Crease the churchyards.
Paste another bumper sticker,
To cover the high school graduate
redundant; something to attest that
Your vehicle is now a veteran, dead boy’s billboard
To community service.
Buy a mass; or two, or three or four:
Alms better spent on the parish whore.
© 2004 by E.D. Ridgell