These are the options. Volunteer for another mission
with real desert and real snipers and real roadside bombs
or stay in his room, turn down the lights, guzzle beer after beer.
Of course, he could always date cheerleaders.
He was friendly with one or two before he signed up.
Pretty blondes in short skirts doing backflips in the end-zone.
But he’s lost their numbers.
He’s also lost the kid that scribbled them down.
Why not get a job? He had one stacking shelves in school vacations.
He could pick up where he left off, stacking coup cans
one atop the other, constructing the first Heinz skyscraper
in all of creation. But the damn thing toppled, crashed
to the floor, made a noise louder than a rear-ender.
And he was fired. So that wouldn’t work.
But he could always move back with his folks.
They’d take him in for sure. At least, they would if it was ten years ago.
But now, the choice is a nursing home or a cemetery.
So it’s sign up again or stay put.
Seek out the enemy in the company of your troop
or be the only doing it.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and 3rd Wednesday. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon.