The Veterans Life


Occupies small spaces set aside in parades

to march amidst babies and balloons.

In old uniforms, bright campaign ribbons

under fluttering flags, emerging cleansed


of quiet rooms, coffee and cigarettes,

prescription bottles and embattled nights,

days awaiting mail and monthly checks

signifying their dwindling esteem.


Now trying on pride marches once again

scanning eyes for signs of understanding,

appreciation, or interest in its

yearly appearance, or apparition.


surrounded by the foreign landscapes  

of civilian life, it tentatively

emerges braving new explosions as

sharp cracks of applause replace cartridges


scanning faces, awaiting recognition  

dreaming of places and lost friends fallen

it retreats once again to the comfort

of older, more familiar companions


bidding another rigid farewell,

to its heartland, like children and villages

family dinners, backyard barbecues,

innocence and safety, all lost

forever when the killing began.