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Wednesday, March 09, 2011


by donnarkevic

Such a lie
he tells, fooling the Okie recruiter.
At sixteen, fears are pennies
on a dead man’s eyes.

As the steamer steers for war,
Father chews on a fat cigar
and tosses his black bowler
as the crowd cheers,
and Mother recalls the lantern light
on the night of little Frankie’s birth.
As the summer sun dims,
the cold sea erases the ship
bit by bit.

He expects to return home before harvest,
but instead he reaps the fall
of many, driving an ambulance
behind the trenches,
how the mangled bodies
outlive the memories of French cathedrals,
museums, and the ornate tombs
of kings and heroes.

Years later, in a closet,
like a forty-eight star flag,
his doughboy tunic hangs,
on the mantle a sepia-toned photo,
a boy’s eyes piercing the future
like a fixed bayonet.

The day before he dies,
on the porch of his farmhouse
in the face of sunshine,
his one hundred and ten years bask.
As he closes his eyes,
comrades resurrect, calling him home,
to muster with them alongside a neat row
of endless white marble headstones.

donnarkevic's recent poetry has appeared in Convergence Review, Earth Speak, and Off the Coast. Recent short story publications include Colere and the anthology, Seeking the Swan. In 2005, Main Street Rag published Laundry, a poetry chapbook. Also in 2005, The Interview, a play, won 2nd place in the Playwright's Circle competition.