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Thursday, September 10, 2020


by Michael L. Ruffin

My Fools
My grandfather (Army fool, Europe, WWI)
My father (Navy fool, Pacific, WWII)
My father-in-law (Marine fool, Pacific, WWII)
My uncle (Army Air Corps fool, Europe, WWII)
My three brothers-in-law (Air Force, Army, and Marine fools, Vietnam)

My Losers
My mother's (before she was my mother) fiance (Army loser, killed in France, WWII)
My cousin (Army loser, wounded in Vietnam)
My fifth-grade teacher's husband (Army loser, killed in Vietnam)

I know, and I hope
you know, that
they aren't really
fools and losers.

I also know, and I hope
you also know, that
anyone who thinks they are
is a fool and a loser.

It takes a real fool to think
of service as foolishness.

It takes a real loser to think
of sacrifice as losing.

Michael L. Ruffin is a writer, editor, preacher, and teacher living and working in Georgia. He posts poems on Instagram (@michaell.ruffin) and prose opinions at On the Jericho Road. He is author of Fifty-Seven: A Memoir of Death and Life and  of the forthcoming Praying with Matthew. His poetry has appeared at TheNewVerse.News3 Moon Magazine, Rat's Ass Review, and U-Rights Magazine.