Sandburg's Prophecy

Last week, I took the boys pond fishing in my hometown. As we sat on the banks, we watched the A-10s (a military plane) practicing their maneuvers. My mother sat on the bank, told me that she'd spoken with a nurse on the base. "We vaccinated 500 more this week--malaria, yellow fever, anthrax," the nurse said. My mother asked where the soldiers were headed. "Can't tell you," the nurse said, "but you should see them. They're only boys."

"Sandburg's Prophecy"*

Lakeside, the Warthogs fly-- touch and go; touch and go-- rotary cannons jutting from snarled teeth like a cigarette, smoking.

They cut clouds, turn wings exposing bellies to the setting or rising sun (I cannot tell which anymore), reap only the wind.

They are the offspring of our desires, the worst or best of our natures embodied (I cannot tell which anymore), thrusting.

Of my country, the worst men will say is this: you gave my children a war without end, conscripted them before their times.

Of my country, the best men will say is this: you held for one day longer, born up on the wings of Warthogs and eagles.

__________

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*The above poem is an homage to Carl Sandburg's "They Will Say."