The Enemy by Ellae Lawton

June 30, 2016 | By | Reply More

I saw the first Gulf War explode on CNN–-
bombs bursting over Baghdad
like giant fireflies gone mad.
Newsclips showed the fierce Republican Guard
our troops flew off to conquer

though they were said to be invincible–
but they looked like my son and his friends
only Arab, dark eyes shiny as forest ponds,
bright handsome lads lately fledged,
their plumage quivering to soar.

I remembered FDR’s war
that stole a bright handsome cousin
whose flute made lilting birdsong–
first Marine to win the highest honor,
his music bled out on Midway.

I remembered wondering, as
Mother drew black curtains every night
shutting out aimless lightning bugs,
why children in a place called Europe
were being bombed and we weren’t.

I remembered that after V-E Day
Father said the German prisoners,
bright handsome young pilots, sought
to stay here, study medicine or engineering,
then help their starving country.

What I’ve been wondering ever since:
Why not let the young make music,
learn to heal or build or feed, wherever born,
and skip the wars? Why do folk waste
their young like God wastes blessings?

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Category: Poetry, United States of America, War, When Women Waken Literary Journal

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