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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

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.