Tin Soldiers

Tin soldiers bend and crumple

Beneath the feet of little boys

Who leave them strewn on bedroom floors.

 

– And moth-eaten shadows

Are no substitute

For the lovers

And the brothers

We farewell.

 

They leave us young and strong.

Swollen,

With the false courage

Of myopia,

To play the twisted game

Of last man standing.

 

They never notice

The shackles that bind their ankles

Each to each.

And they never know

How they’ll go

Like dominos;

And how the last man standing

Will drag them home.

 

And if they can hear

After the years

Of gun shots

And deafening fear,

That leave the screams

ringing always in their ears,

Then, back they come

Our brothers

And our lovers,

To live in silence.

 

And if they can crawl,

After watching men fall

Like tenpins

One by one;

Then, back they run

Mauled

With bloodied faces

And tails between their legs,

And eyes

That never look the same.

 

And no, there is nothing beautiful,

And no overwhelming truth

Except that flesh breaks

And hearts ache,

And the dying die the same.

 

And I’d prefer a hole punched flag

Than a hole punched man, anyday.

 

The dying don’t have time

To apply

And stand in line

And wait for justice to be served,

Or for vindication

For atrocity that nobody deserved;

And the dying don’t have time

To wait a while

And watch each other die

While wars are fought and won

In boardrooms;

But men are killed with guns.

 

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