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War poem

An Artless Death 
by Janet L. Buck 

It started out with humble goals. 
To make two parents swell with pride. 
Joined the joints of army boots 
that finger-painted human blood. 
His keepsake was a cameo 
from tea cups of a woman’s heart. 
It sat beside an M-16 that could have been   
a plastic gift from Toys ‘R’ Us  
we ordered with our apathy. 
Ramp and rampant rust of battle-- 
fighter planes and helicopters 
spun their helpless in the air. 

Setting down on innocence, 
grass deceits, and flaming huts.  
The night watch was a swamp of snakes. 
Earth he promised to defend  
on bubbles of a bible’s text: 
turned by rain to patted rice 
imbued with someone else’s plan. 
He returned beneath a tarp 
in plastic bags as semen speaking 
evidence behind a very cruel rape. 
His death the kind of guilt dismissed-- 
like peeing in a river’s womb. 


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