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 is alleged
to have caused all the killing.

The dead would confirm the discrete count,
vouch one and one isn’t two in the ledger.
The guards would keep them from disclosing

there is no glory; just ask the lone grunt
able to speak even while at the edge:
there is only blood black as the gripping

blame that inflames the next combat zone;
the sentinels keep the dead wedged
in, thus restraining them from telling

of the lies that honest people condoned
because 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
up their own as a way of settling.

The speed of their spirits now bygone;
their hearts on trial for the crime adjudged—
that they were simpleminded, looking

at the sum of precepts as a capstone
and not seeing how the full-fledged
practiced in a gray so unlike any preaching;

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