Bring Our Soldiers Home
Photo: Grandbaby, copyright 1976, Alan Pogue
The baby took solid food, just now.
Americans don't want an empire.
One side of the bed is cold.
The Patriot Act has gutted what
our soldiers are fighting to protect.
Grandmother's eyes grow distant,
as if she could see angels.
Depleted Uranium is poison.
Sister says we have been betrayed,
as does the world.
The secretary of defense says Baghdad
looks like Chicago.
Just now, three grackles flashed blue black
feathers at a laughing wind.
Our leaders are incompetent.
Barton Springs is clear, emerald and cold.
Military health benefits have been cut.
Father stares into the refrigerator,
Andy and Gen and Freddie and Jaun and Mary
and Maria and Pablo and Lilly are out of work.
The president lied.
Our congressional district has been redrawn
to eliminate your vote.
Autumn light has shifted golden.
Occupation is an imposible form of government.
We can't find the orange cat.
The ravages of body and soul that war inflicts
will be a long time healing.
Irene graduated from Nursing school.
Grain is ripe, the harvest moon is round and fat.
We honor your sacrifice, weep that it’s been squandered.
Brother had your old Chevy truck painted midnight blue,
paid for it himself.
The neo-cons are rolling in money.
Mother is frantic, pale and wants you home.
We need the courage and stamina of our soldiers here --
to take back America.
Boy in a Red Shirt
lying back on a stretcher,
three or four years old,
the way a child cries from pain
he doesn't understand --
because until just now
he trusted adults
to protect him.
One small hand
the rest of him charred
in the fire wind of our bombs
that turned his torso
into raw meat --
the red shirt of a small
Send this photo,
and the one of someone's head
cracked like a white china bowl,
or the man in blue robes
lifting a child who is just
a red and cinnamon rag
to the president, his wife,
send it to their twin girls
so they can be proud of America.
Send this photograph,
which American media
will not allow us to see,
to every legislator who gave
permission to President Bush
to create the horror
of this boy --
this boy in a red shirt.
No one may do this.
No one can permit anyone to do this,
for any reason.
Stop this war machine,
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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