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Tuesday, May 05, 2020


by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

As the F-16s flew over Newark,
I wondered how many of my grandfather’s friends
who, too, lied about their ages in order to enlist

flashed back to Normandy,
whether the walls of ICU rooms at University Hospital
dissolved into the photographs he’d kept
Matryoshka-ed within boxes in his attic
until they were discovered by me,

exhaustion-emptied and grasping
for any signs of him I could still see
after both he and his Emily left the Earth,
but before the house was shuttered.

How many prayed
to trade one invisible war
for another,

the virus for vanishing neurons,

and wished
to change their ages
this one last time
to escape the draft?

Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory is a defense journalist and poet who was born in New Jersey and subsequently transplanted in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Writing from New Jersey City University and an M.S. in Journalism with a Health and Science Reporting Concentration and a National Security Reporting Specialization from Northwestern University's Medill School.