July [1] 2008



No Hank Williams bone crunch

could warn them on prom night

that three years out

The Sea

would be another woman

to their men,

and that their own children’s fathers

would spit-shine for the Fillipino

basegirls in mu-mus

before tabbing their lime Tanquerays.

Hard to be wife to a hero

undeployed, but combat ready,

come Valentine’s day;

staring at another six months out,

trying to pace emotions,

when next week the boys start little league.

Young moms keep stat sheets on their sons

but the boys will wait long cold months

to show dads their new batting stance.

There’s two kinds of wives

and they don’t mix:

one joins the cause

and prefers the peace of marriage

without a partner, but fidgets

in the wake of his return, knowing

the housework will lose her rhythm

and it’s back to rubber sheets on both bunkbeds,

until his next leave, or the next escalation

of hostilities.

Her father was navy too,

and she believes women anchor men

in the service of their country.

Her waistline reflects the extent

of her patriotism.

Privately, this kind fears

the dreaded homelessness

that comes with peace.

The other kind whispers

of slipping out come next WesPAC,

her mom wants her back in Memphis,

and she may stop desiring solid food altogether,

but will drink to numb her fear

and rage for sea-faring men.

This kind no longer believes the glory,

and networks when the men are out,

swapping sitters

for late dance nights at the Captain’s Club.

This kind rehearses

the day her kids will believe her,

praying it comes before

he returns in the night like a seal

to abduct them.

Privately, this kind ruminates

over unspeakable solutions

(that sometimes come with

the casualties of war).


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