“A Muster of U.S. Soldiers at the University”

And another look at spring—

The soldiers assemble on the Quad, with their hut-
hut, their about-about-about face, quite common-
place these days, camouflage not needed, grass
greens up under their boots, trees flush pink,
the soldiers draw near, sit at the next desk, chair,
near and more near, the smiling faces next to us
in the school corridor, and overhead the CNN chat
is how one of them put a bullet to the head, heart,
or throat of someone across an ocean, desert, sea
where cargo ships big as towns carry oil and guns,
plowing up the water emptied of fish by trawlers
big as factories, and on the shore the fishers
in the villages pick up guns and take to motor-
boats to catch what they will, exchange of resource,
cash for tanker captain, risking bullet to the head
and the name pirate, bandit, as U.S. soldiers snipe
from a hidden place, are called heroes at home,
but some of them whimper and cry as they sleep,
I know, I’ve heard them as they dream and weep,
not the future but the past, that small hole gapes
wide and wider, a mouth spewing red, sweeps
them out to sea, drowning in sight of shore, people
who stand and watch the uniform flounder and sink,
camouflaged by sun-mottled and blotched waters,
blues, greens, browns, as from the village, fishers
push out their gull-winged dhow and fly overhead,
they lower their nets past him, the huge wire baskets
gather up what will be good to eat, barracuda, red
snapper, hamour, oranda, taken home in straw baskets.

For more information on the U.S. military, profit and Africa, see:

Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire
“Pentagon Targets Africa: Why Somalis Seize Ships”
Workers World, 13 Apr 2009

Johann Hari, “You Are Being Lied to About Pirates”
London Independent, 4 January 2009

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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