by Hall Gardner
You remembered how those gigantic transports once soared
one by one like vultures over your sandbox where your model jets roared
strikes against tanks and toy soldiers. You were not even born when
those same C-130s had once landed—then jammed with aluminium
cased coffins draped in Red&White&Blue…. My poorer cousin from
the Blue Hen state (with its own Mason Dixon Line neatly dividing northern corporations
from southern chicken farms), you took the first chance you
could to see the world after those evil Saracens struck the WTC and Pentagon.
Now far from your Dover sand box you play volleyball and soccer
with some of your fellow GIs on the beach next to shark-infested waters.
Some flew in from Afghanistan; others got it easy in Kuu-wait;
and other warriors, like yourself, are on weekend leave from I-raq.
“It’s not so bad… but not too much…” you start off affirmatively,
“to do sometimes… not at all like they say it is in the News.”
You pause a bit, staring off over the dunes. You’ve said exactly
what you’ve been told to say… Your toes in the sand fidgeting nervously.
“Yeah, it’s great to take a break, if only for a couple of hours,
but ya’ not allowed no more than two beers per night!” Even worse,
you now find yourself transported to a land where it’s even dangerous
just to glance at the flash of a woman’s eyes behind black shrouds.
“At night… the barracks are jus’ a couple hundred feet from the latrine…
if ya’ got ta’ go, ya’ got to take a flashlight to check for scorpions
scamperin’ at your feet… but just lightin’ a match can
make ya’ a sittin’ duck for snipers…” It would be sometime
before the big bad news media even began to murmur that report…
With a wistful smile you continue, “You know I never dreamed
Dover to be so beautiful… Had always wanted to get the hell out…
It’s only six more months before I’ll be shipped back…”