Friday, September 4, 2009

Anywhere, U.S.A.

Anywhere USA

for Shelby West
May, 2006

A local resident, an American soldier,
died in Iraq yesterday
and now
no one speaks against the war.

An eleven year old girl is fatherless
but she cannot lay her grief
at the culprit’s feet.
Her grief is a dead child
strapped to her back.

She knows the creature
who killed her father.
Every night it steps out of darkness
into the daylight of her dreams,
but she cannot curse it’s name,
she cannot exorcise it.

Her anger has no object,
no pointed purpose.
Her rage is a sword locked
in its sheath.
The sharpest phrases die in her,

Adults speak dully of honor
and service and heroism,
while the impeccable, honorable war,
like a mafia don,
snaps its cufflinks,
narrows its eyes,
and, flanked by body guards,
rides our streets in a limousine,
unseen behind dark
and bullet-proof glass.

David Smith-Ferri

Shelby West is the daughter of Army Master Sgt. Robert H. West. She was eleven in May, 2006 when her father died in combat in Iraq. Thirty-seven year old Master Sgt. Robert H. West, from Elyria, Ohio, died in Baghdad on May 14, 2006 during combat operations when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his Humvee. Robert was a member of the U.S. Army, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 78th Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

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