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marching, as to war

on this day
forty-one years ago,
newly shorn
and uniformed
in the middle
of another
bloody,
losing war,
I was in
my fourth day
of learning
the arts of combat,
which seemed,
at that early
point,
to be mostly
about getting up
in the very dark
of morning,
and marching,
always marching,
in godawful winter
weather
to places we did not
care to go

many of us
would soon learn
more advanced
and terrible
lessons
while others,
like me,
would find safe
haven
in specialities
that involved
neither shooting
nor being shot
at

veterans
now
of the they-also-serve-
who-only-stand-and-wait
brigade we,
honor those
who fought
then
and those
who fight now
and thank
god
again
we are not
them

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