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Steven Croft

9 / 12

After the sky fell on the City, swelling its canyons,
the talus slopes of smoke and carnage, the names
of missing spoken as pleas into camcorders that
swish pan to passing sirens, in the quiet towns
and muted cities, tv screens blink images
against our staring eyes.

At Fort Stewart we clean weapons and watch CNN,
fingertip smell of gun oil as hand reaches up,
rubbing chin in thought, looking into this widescreen
scry glass, any news of who did this to the staggering
city predicting our future.

"100 percent accountability" releasing us, I pass
the parade field, sunset making a shadow over
ground where a grove of crape myrtles, each named
for a soldier, will soon grow, knowing safety
can be counted, the months of it limited by news
we will receive, that it's finite like grains in a bullet.

Across the world, a desert moon none of us has seen
yet rises over Sadr City....Now, years and all of our
deaths later, I can look up, see it, feel it, its beauty
wounded nightly by an observance of mortar shells.


An Army veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, Canary, The New Verse News, The Dead Mule, Live Nude Poems, Quaci Press Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ariel Chart, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. 

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