Home Front—new poem

I had two poems published in the current issue of Misfit Magazine.  Here is the first of them and the link:

http://misfitmagazine.net

The Home Front— 3/16/68

She couldn’t have been
more than 19 or 20.
When I looked closely
I could still see
the little girl in her.

She’d spent the day
recruiting for SDS
and now,
was holding court
in the basement bar
on the avenue
that separated town and gown.
The evening’s
protest had dissolved
into beer and peanuts,
as it always did
for our group
of graduate students
dressed in radical drab.

She was smiling—
her hands speech-rhythmic
in the half light
as she presided over
a dissection of my life.

She pictured me a coward
nineteen different ways—
my research evil—
my deferment a cop-out—
as my former friends
sat drinking and smoking,
and shaking their hairy heads,
as if the gift of great wisdom
had been miraculously
bestowed upon them.

I was no match for her—
she was sharp
as an acid etch.
My stammered protestation
sounded—even to my ears—
like a confession.
And, of course,
she was right.

At 2, we stacked the chairs
on the tables and filed out.
It was cold and clear—
a million stars seemed
poised to tell us
something magical,
as that wisp of a girl
marched them off—
a ragged band
of the righteous
in combat boots
leaving me
to the silence
of the streets.

I turned up the collar
of my beat-up corduroy coat
and began to walk
cross-campus.
It would be mid-morning
before I’d finish
this set of experiments.

 

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