Shrapnel and Starships

by Jesse Durovey

Tears in the Dark

They say, “There goes a hero,”

but it’s just an empty expression.

We’re paraded like circus animals

to the tune of a 10% discount at IHOP.

 

They say, “Thank you for your service,”

and buy a yellow ribbon magnet for their SUVs.

Then they file into the voting booth

and stuff the ballot box with dog tags and shattered dreams.

 

How will they ever understand:

the tears we cry in the dark,

when we grip the steering wheel in traffic,

or the burn of a shell casing falling down a sweat-stained collar.

 

We will always be haunted by—

the flight of tracer rounds against a foreign sky,

the rage we feel when we bury our brothers,

and the guilt we feel for not dying beside our sisters.

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