We Regret to Inform
by Mark Kraushaar

    You do it with love, even if you think war is
    stupid--Janice Mann sewing name tags
    on uniforms for soldiers headed to the Mideast
    from Fort Stewart, Georgia. NY Times

Padilla, Spooner, Pratt:
These three I set to walking with their guns
and gear across a bridge and into a town
with snipers whom I render blind.
No harm can come to Reynolds.
Because it's after noon,
because I've laid
white thread beside a hanging ivy
no harm can come to Overkamp or Silva.
For Switzky bombs are harmless.
And for Rosenthal and Pierce, Namick and Davis
approaching bullets disappear and Ingram
and Beam walk with invisible shields.

Long ago, before there was anything
there was nothing, except that everyone was always
on their way and there would always be
a Jardin and Silverio, always a Greenblatt,
a Fletcher and a Beinecke,
there would always be a Zachiaris, Uno,
and Jaffe, and never not
a Framstad, a Morris or a Thayer.
Which is not nothing but something.
If there was nothing first then second
came absence and with absence sadness:
no Fahnstocks, Gaylords, Doerings, or Sidos,
but that would be fixed and finished with.

Often after work I think of them again.
Often at night I think of them as boys
and nameless, climbing off a tractor,
pouring milk, explaining, peeing,
sleeping, snaggle-toothed, pudgy
and whey-faced, brilliant, knock-kneed,
flushed, nervous-laughing, unaccompanied
and acned, handsome and peevish.
No, nothing can touch my Giesen.
No harm can come to Wayfield.
This evening the moon rests
over the trees ironical and sad and still.
I hold my needle in the light for luck.
My Glickstien is charmed,
my Baya blessed.

Copyright © 2012 - Mark Kraushaar
Published: 2/23/12   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem