The men at the Tomb of the Unknown
aren’t honor guards, but sentries pledged
to prevent those below from rising,

And tell of the failure of the throne:
that a union of the unholy
hired all the killing kings.

The dead would confirm the discrete
Count of one and one is none,
The guards would keep them from disclosing

There is no glory; just ask the lone grunt
able to speak amid PTSD’s shrapnel:
there is only blood black as the gripping

Blame that inflames the next zone;
the sentinels keep the dead wedged
in, restraining them from revealing

the lies honest people condoned.
They saw promise, not cartridges.
and made a deal before finding

that a full-time future was a loan
so exorbitant they had to dredge
their own as a way of settling.

They saw the sum of precepts as a capstone
and didn’t see how the fully-fledged
practiced in a gray so unlike any preaching;

Their hallowed cause a constant drone:
to profit without having to hedge,
all conflict is capital calling.

Timothy L. Rodriguez has published in English and Spanish. His fiction and poems have appeared in over two dozen national and international publications including Main Street Rag, Heyday Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal (2017 Pushcart nomination). His essay The Problem Now appeared in the 5th edition of New Theory.