Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thirteen Things My Military Students Tell Me That They Can't Tell Their Parents

By Anthony Frame

1. My composition classes
never seemed so worthless;

they'll give their arms to return
to these wasted chairs.

2. Being polite
is a shield,
a way to forget
friends covered
by sand, storms,
soot and shit.

3. They'd tear the flags from
their uniforms. Burn them.
Burn every fiber. Watch

the stripes burn to ashes.
Inhale fumes from the burning
threads. If they could.

4. They never smoked before being called to duty.

5. Some phone calls

should be

forbidden.

6. A motorcycle is
heaven's temptation,

a fantasy of heading

south with no
destination in mind.

7. An e-mail means more
than care packages
containing bars of soap.

8. They are afraid. Yes.

9. Some days,
they just want
to sleep;
they know it
would be
a waste of time.

10. They'll miss Toledo's gray
rain, the seagulls' V before
the storm strikes, the thunder's
drama as it rolls in.

11. They no longer text
the word goodbye.
In print, it feels
too final.

12. When I ask for
a fact,
they tell me they
will die.
When I ask for
a claim,
they tell me
soon.

13. After your first crew cut,
everyone is a stranger.



Previously published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Spring 2010

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