Nancy L. Meek


We gave them armored tanks
and vests to shield the heart
and branded them with flags,
so they would stand apart.

We taught them how to kill,
lest some not make it back
to rest a needed spell
before the next attack.

We showed them how to live
with what they had on hand,
but still shipped MREs,
like beans and tasty spam.

We told them they were loved
despite some things they’d done,
like shooting doe-eyed kids
behind a loaded gun.

We once composed a dream
of putting them on planes,
to speed them far away
from grownups’ bloody games.

We flew them to an island
pre-stocked with all their needs,
like water, food and shelter
and farmland filled with seeds.

We took the women, as well,
and the elders, and the lame,
and built for them new clinics,
where healing was the game.

We frisked them all for weapons
before their planes arrived,
lest they defeat our purpose…
to save their precious lives.

We also took the men folk
who swore they’d had enough,
but first, we frisked them, too,
for guns and other stuff.

We guarded well their heaven
on yon island in the sea,
that place outside the box
some dream is yet-to-be.

We gave them more than tanks
and vests to shield the heart;
we passed to them the dream
so they’d remain apart.

We taught them how to love
lest some should all swim back
to where they suffered hell,
to that desert, called “Iraq”.

We showed them how to live
in war-torn stinging sand,
and since there was no food,
we shipped them beans and spam.

We swore to always love them
no matter what they’d done,
but, said they’d see no toddlers
behind a loaded gun!

We kept them on that island
in a dream that still survives
and pray God will forgive us
for screwing up their lives.