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Monday, May 27, 2019


by j.lewis

although it puts what seems to be
a ragged stamp of finality
on unstarted and unfinished dreams

we mourn and we remember those
who took one for the team
for a vaguely defined cause
that slips our grasp like crude

"they died for our freedom"
is the standard line, and holds
true for very few of the conflicts
america has so willfully embraced

no one dares recite a line like this:
"they died to make a corporation richer"
or "we honor them with every tank of gas"
because to proclaim the emperor's nakedness
can get you a lot of hassle these days

and certainly, no one wants to ponder
the sacrifice of those left alive
the daily waking up dying
from loneliness, poverty, insecurity
children to carry on shoulders
already rounded with the weight
of grief, of love's candle snuffed

no, the ultimate sacrifice is not death
but living, pushing through the darkness
finding strength beyond self, and still
in spite of it all, believing
that this imperfect country
is the greatest place on earth

j.lewis has an irritating habit of asking about the collateral damage of war: the families of slain soldiers, and how they manage to keep on keeping on. His first collection of poetry, paired with his own photography, is available from Amazon.