War Games

These thin, gray woods were once a Southeast Asian swamp
Where all the boys on Cutter Drive would re-enact
The news or World War II, the atavistic romp

Of kids with maple sticks and dirt bombs, all the pomp
And circumstance of war. When Cedar Street attacked ,
These thin, gray woods became a Southeast Asian swamp.

It took a half an hour for our troops to stomp
Across the skunkweed, dodging all the dirty flack
They threw in World War II–our fatalistic romp

To claim the hill. We’d charge and dive and belly whomp,
We’d make machine gun sounds, rearming at a stack
Of thin gray wood. We had a Southeast Asian swamp

Behind our houses and you had to play. It’s com-
plicated. Part of growing up a boy. In fact,
The news from Viet Nam, the late ballistic romp,

Conscripted us to fight. Contending with the stamp
Of masculinity, my buddies never lacked
For thin grey wood, a sweaty Southeast Asian swamp,
The news from World War II, the cold sadistic romp.


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