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Sunday, January 08, 2006


by Thomas D. Reynolds

In the photograph,
my father is just a boy,
standing before his brother
dressed in full uniform.

Home for two weeks' leave
before shipping overseas,
he stares into the lens
and his sister's eye.

Undoubtedly, being older,
she realizes this photo
could be his last,
but her hand is steady.

The box camera captures
the gaunt facial lines
slicing across his brow,
scarring his smile,

the insubordinate hair
that defies rank
to taunt his enemy
beneath his starched cap,

the uniform's fresh crease
only a mother could provide,
slashing the air
like the blade of a sword,

the firm set of his jaw
as if biting his tongue,
or gripping a sound
between his teeth,

the measure of all
a soldier might face
reduced to a single word
he dare not utter.

His brother might hear,
who now stands at his feet
like that rumpled black dog
once always at his side.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, Flint Hills Review, The MacGuffin, The Cape Rock, The Pedestal Magazine, Eclectica, Strange Horizons, Combat, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, and Ash Canyon Review.