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.