Next to work, a Marine recruiting
center, a gun store and an Army
recruiting center. Pretty much death
central sitting there all casual and cool,
blending in with the traffic rumbling by.
Behind work in late afternoon recruits
gather after school for pre-basic training.
What’s surprising is their size, mostly
thin and not very tall-a fragile look
about those narrow, boyish faces.
But there they are, not holding hands
with girls or goofing off with friends
but for a dark myriad of reasons,
grunting in unison, banging push ups,
ripping crunches, and sprinting up
the steep hill past the dance studio
packed with little ballerinas and the
train tracks. On first sight you’d think
they were a JV team working out after
school but then you see the guy in
camouflage, with the square jaw
of authority, history’s long bloody
trail feeding his heart, barking at them,
yelling about winning, fighting and killing.
A lot of yelling about killing.