He went to war before he ever voted
and no one seemed to think
it was either odd or unfair
not even him since he was just
a child at least in the eyes
of his parents if not the draft
board which did not worry or care
if he finished the twelfth grade
before he went to the killing fields
or skies since it did not matter
as long as he filled a place
in the quota for his county in
the opinion of the board of local
citizens many who had found meaning
in some previous war and thought
he should find worth in this present
one for colonies and race and to
assert that land and ethics vied
for significance in this conflict
so that selfishness and sacrifice
merged in the conflict in such
chaos that doing the right thing
was never that clear to the warriors
or even to the historians who
tried to put tidiness into human terms.
They parade in print as if naked in the open air,
breezes ruffling their metaphoric pubic hair
and they reveal all about their romances
for public view in the Style Section
of the local newspaper of record,
as the legal term has it.
Triumphs and humiliations are
outlined or gone into minute detail,
if you will pardon the naughty pun,
and if you are reading this newsprint
stuff you probably will not mind,
even giving it a tad of a giggle.
Of course, the things is that reading
these accounts is a bit like appearing
dressed at the nude beach on the Cape
at Truro when you thought it was
the modest family scene at Wellfleet
or the newsprint version of the self-
exposure via the Internet for the
digital world to relish like a dirty movie.
As a politician once said although hard
to believe have you no shame?
You live in a house long enough
it gets cranky like an old man
whose joints ache when they turn.
Shower handles stick and
don’t want to turn on or off.
Stove burners take on an independence
separate from the command of the controls.
Hinges squeak in spite of regular
applications of three-in-one oil.
Gutters fill up with leaves and pine needles,
stopping the flow of rain through downspouts.
Ants scuttle along the edge of rooms,
while others eat the deck for dessert,
and mice die in the walls.
Kitchen faucets drip and plead for a plumber.
Spiders have woven silk around the chair rungs
and moths flutter against the night lights,
looking for insect sex in their confusion.
The house becomes as ornery as a young
unbroken horse, but it is not youthful any longer,
nor can it be tamed.
Time cannot be reversed.