Eve Lyons

Our Doughboys Aren’t Rising Today

The last surviving
World War One vet
died in West Virginia today.
Corporal Frank Buckles was
one hundred and ten years old.
Born in 1901, he lived long enough
to see two centuries,
two world wars,
two police actions,
two more undeclared
illegal wars.
Have we learned our lesson yet?
What was the lesson we were learning?

The last surviving
World War One vet
died in West Virginia today.
Today, we have no draft.
Today, our wars are fought by paid militia,
the battle scars are kept
off our television screen,
out of newspapers.
Yet still soldiers keep on fighting,
poor people still sign up to battle,
since it’s the one way they can get
health insurance and go to college.

We’ve learned war is good for business,
bad for public relations.

Frank Buckles was born by lantern light in Missouri,
Dropped out of school at sixteen,
Lied and snuck his way into the army
Only to outlive all the other doughboys.

The doughboys fought when war meant something
even if what it meant made no sense.
War is just another business venture
lining the pockets of corporations,
making citizens into indentured servants.

This isn’t what anybody dies for.

I am a 30 something year old married queer woman living in Boston, MA.
I have been previously published in Fireweed, Concho River Review,
Labyrinth, Women’s Words, Woven, Sapphic Ink, Texas Observer, Word
Riot, Houston Literary Review, and two different anthologies. I have
performed in the now defunct Amazon Poetry Slam for many years and
recently had a ten minute play in the production Ten Tiny Shows in
Cambridge, MA.

(author retains copyright)