Many miles and many years

from the Cambodian Border

I wake these days at ground level,

a better soldier who has tasted dust,

crawled on ambush patrol ready

to fire on any man or woman

charging me with an urge to kill,

no longer fearful, no longer vain


As for my son, my daughter,

and the many wars to come,

let me stand their watch so

they too may have lovers,

cherish each smooth detail,

eat and drink well, see the world

in its many ways and peoples,

walk forests, cross streams peacefully,

lay on beaches to take the sun,

hear the shrieks of swirling gulls,

swim waters of oceans and calm lakes


Let old men who make wars

be those who fight them


Take me and leave my children

I am good at this gruesome business

I passed the course and it comes easy