Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For Jason Bogar: Who Loved the Flag

For Jason Bogar

A woman has her baby, and her heart-urge,
another word for courage
to sacrifice,
to love something
more than friends, country or companion.

A man has his flag, his heart-urge
to sacrifice,
to love something more…

He has no bloody cord to cut,
no baby suckling at his breast,
but only a square quilted cloth,
symmetry, color, texture
snapping in the wind of some geography,
a land to be conquered,
or defended
with other men -
his comrades,
loved more than friends, wife or children,

He has
that same biological urge to union,
conception, gestation
and the interminable wait…

To wait for the pains,
the contractions,
for the enemy to appear on the horizon,
to threaten the lives of his beloved companions,
to test his ability to sacrifice his all
under the colors
snapping in the wind.

And when the moment arrives,
he does not give birth,
but death, or a limb, or a story
to those he leaves behind
as he cuts the bloody cord -
his own
in the puzzling cycle
where Love and Death meet,

And those who do not understand
the woman, or the man -
must invent terms: Hormones, Biology,
Maternal, Patriotism,
Destiny –

And perhaps the later,
comes closest. It is not logical,
unless measured by the standard of heart-urge,
that incessant compulsion toward
learning to love another
than the expendable, anxious, weeping mess
we call,


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