The Memorial Day evening passes
with the clip — clip of mosquitoes
frying as they fly into the electric
fly catcher. I sit on the porch
with a Coleman lantern. Its light
casts an arc over the checkerboard.
Entertaining myself by beating myself
at checkers, I study the board,
and sip my Manhattan. If I have
a future life, I’m unprepared for it,
and wonder what the dead think
Does Donne’s sermons ring true
to the old soldiers visiting
the graveyard? On Memorial Day,
survivors drive home, and I listen
to the shower of mosquito bodies.
They land on the porch floor.
As the traffic passes, I become sad
because tomorrow the veterans
will be ignored. Who will remember
the poppies of Flanders Fields
or the white crosses on the coast
Who will remember Korea, Vietnam,
and the wars in the Middle East.
Tomorrow, my country fills again
with the old passion — the old
patriotic fantasies. Now, I call
all the ghosts of previous wars.
Come onto my porch. I will pour
you a whiskey and water. We’ll hold
a minute of silence before toasting
the dust of our bones. Come, drink
as the electric fly trap continues
its innocuous clip — clip.