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What Makes the Green Grass Grow

A military man wraps his fury

in camouflage. Concealed,

the man must feel at home:

ordered, pressed, complete.

That is the point of a uniform—

to look sharp in garrison,

to salute the brass properly

without a wrinkle showing.

And what of the sewer grate

that catches in a soldier’s mind—

bolt and chamber—spark

pouring from a fresh M16

in fresh hands with fresh ideals,

firing bullets down a range

of plastic pop-up targets

that fall facedown in dirt

with each hit, only to spring

back to the way they were?

After a day of shooting,

the maggots chant: Blood

makes the green grass grow,

affirming the natural order,

as if smoke and lead are tools

for planting in the afterlife.

from BangaloreFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Kerry James Evans
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Kerry James Evans Poems

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