"Old Home Day"
Some rode in from farms at the edge of town
or flew in from work in the South and West
to gather around the Common, and the kids
lay down their frisbees for the cloud parade
of life as it's always been with nothing to change—
volunteer firemen and ambulance brigade,
the town cop, vets of foreign wars,
some recent ones that snared the world
with bombs, drones, mortars, BARs.
The wars against their own lead the parade,
vets of the Revolution and Civil War, Texas
against Cheyenne, King Philip's War,
with their flintlocks, muskets, sabers, arrows, bows,
and the band played and the beer flowed like blood
in this sweet town where everyone knows
everyone's public name and secret name
and all their deadand no one locks their doors.
No one stands aside to see. All join
this unbounded democracy.
Two brothers dead in one campaign
mosey over, AWOL as usual, for beer
and to read their names on the brass plaque again
fixed to an obelisk in the square..
Barry Goldensohn is the author of five books of poetry and a new collection of poems about music forthcoming this summer from Fomite Press.
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