Leveler Poetry Journal
About Leveler Submission Guidelines More Poems

Committee Regarding Debriefing Kin

After that our only recourse was to prune our reasons,

a step I’ve never enjoyed, it’s kin to assessing tenderness

in the gut, wounds within the sinews, the rad abs

that could scrub clothes clean, grate cheese, when taut

pitch back a flipped coin. Also how they knew a bed

in the service was made. That’s what the letters left

to us assert, every kid strongly encouraged to write,

they do handle tools of significant reach, & bullet

& letter sound like kin. Wielded well, they both surprise

& can’t be answered. As in this case. The way one knows

one’s actions are selfless enough that medals hiss your name

in a forge vs. when one’s a pussy is what the cadets

attempt to explain from their theater seats by acclamation.

If the knife goes in you’ve failed. Should the bullet fall

in his heart, you pull an all-nighter to study telemetry only

resembling hunting zombies, guitar heroics, or hell,

air hockey for all the oak leaves care. R&R & hand-eye

coordination are kin. Our philosophy of sea, air, & land

holds that the rubber block belongs on the pool deck

if it’s delivered by a young man whose bound feet

don’t prevent him from textbook attention. Hidden

within reports of meals is lemon testimony to earning

one’s ease, that it’s kin to running down an impala

or penning an op-ed everyone forwards, a version of thanks

for saying the thing I didn’t.  Perhaps your account

articulated for me what I felt but couldn’t express

in the bathysphere of myself, which bobs obviously

most days on the surface with a stuck escape hatch.

There have been entire Thanksgivings at which

the chance to touch the urn never seemed to occur.

The folded flag is under glass, kin to a diamond heist,

the thrill the laser alarms will be severed or a retina scan

urgently requested. Don’t compare your fingerprints.

Develop these skillsets the way one packs on muscle

like equipment, should your workspace prove fatal

it can revert to a weight the postal service will flat-rate.

Gravity is a rainbow you’re an anchor for, the flyboys

who returned you your default appreciation society.

They have to refract the frequencies carrying grief

& rhetoric from an atmosphere rife with chatter,

that asks that fire be returned toward foes & friends

& next of kin out back who bum my smokes

& start each sentence with man, or brother, & end

with periods left by cigars stubbed in biceps, faces

asterisks to mimic whatever happened to you out there.

W. M. Lobko