Veterans Day 2011

For Steve Cox

“Fuck dead generals! Let’s see a bronze statue of Og
killing the last saber-tooth!” We laugh.
Then I’m quiet for a minute.  Steve coughs,
his lungs like two wet paper bags…
too much radiation.  On subs, a missile technician,
he punched holes in water. But now in Wisconsin,
I sip Pabst.  And Steve’s on oxygen.
Oh say can you see….We discuss cattle mutilations:
“Aliens stop for a sandwich. Two minutes
with a laser scalpel. Their only witness
the starry quilt hovering over Kansas.”
Last week he almost died from eating peanuts.
We wish each other happy Veterans Day.
“Fuck grief,” Steve whispers. “Just breathe every day.”

 
 
Michael Kriesel

Michael Kriesel

Winner of North American Review’s 2015 Hearst Prize and numerous other awards, and past President of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, a poet and reviewer whose work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Antioch Review, Crab Creek Review, Nimrod, Rattle, Right Hand Pointing, Rosebud, and The Progressive. Books include Chasing Saturday Night: Poems about Rural Wisconsin (Marsh River Editions), Whale of Stars (haiku) (Sunnyoutside), Moths Mail the House (Sunnyoutside), and Feeding My Heart to the Wind: Selected Short Poems (Sunnyoutside). He has a B.S. in Literature from the University of the State of New York, and was a print and broadcast journalist in the U.S. Navy.