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Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 12:01 am

december end poem

a friend helping me clean my kitchen
or try to clean it brought me a long flat
rusty item resting across her palms what
is this I said doesn’t everyone keep a
world war one bayonet in their pantry?

about that weapon: my dad picked it up
in france 1924 from belleau wood where
was the worst carnage trenches by now
crumbled overgrown with weeds shrubs
thousands on thousands killed here they
had to clamber over the slaughtered to fire
(though the enemies had a christmas eve
truce drank wine together sang peace on
earth) my dad drove a taxi for american
and british tourists to see the area
curiosity yes but for most a handkerchief
to mouth eyes to grieve son or lover stand
near the spot where that life ended
they thought my dad a frenchman he
spoke no english to his passengers as he
pointed out poet joyce kilmer’s grave his
main job was nearby a sort of peace corps
work being a big brother to fatherless
boys games hikes tenting beneath the
vast tree where napolean once stood

did the man who owned that bayonet kill
someone before he was himself a victim is
there blood mixed with rust in my pantry?

I gave away the shell casings from my
dad’s bottom dresser drawer when I
cleared his room but I kept the blade

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