Thursday, January 12, 2017

war in the basement

we played war in the basement
when I was a young girl
with an ancient doughboy helmet from WWI
liberated from my grandmother's attic
and empty ammo clips and many pairs of earplugs
that came from the first television war -
you remember that one?
the war that wasn't a war
old red ink from a corner shelf
cloths from the ragbag for bandages
our hardware was an old bb-gun
that never did shoot right
and cap pistols - of course
we had parades in circles around the washing machine
blowing on a recorder and banging
on a toy xylophone with sticks as hammers
I fear we were rather eclectic in our
historical appropriations
all conflicts were sourced for
our tailor-made assaults
but movies and Walter Cronkite taught us well
the words and deeds we emulated
now I watch
Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow
and fear for the future of
the precious wee ones in my life
weighs me down
and I wonder how our parents and
teachers did not expire from the weight
so much sorrow poured in their souls
all the while we played
war in the basement

~ Ellen Apple
12 Jan 2017

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