Collateral Damage

The state sets up long rows of concrete chairs.
We knew in Vietnam that babies died.
With Zyklon gas, napalm and ash of hairs,
If you are keeping score, I guess we're tied.
The scholars say our Civil War was won,
But who divines the threads of terror's web?
It's June, the baseball season's just begun,
So, please, don't raise the ghost of Johnny Reb.
While polls shift left and right, we wait the bells
That tell again of horror wrecked by one.
Some say we lost our way. Some say death sells.
His stare is steel, then cold. Our job is done.
More blood will never bring an end to blood—
The second end is fire, the first was flood.

Robert Klein Engler lives in Chicago and New Orleans. Born on the southwest side of Chicago, he taught many years at the City Colleges of Chicago. After resolving a Chicago Commission on Human Relations complaint against them, which he wrote about in his book A WINTER OF WORDS, he went on to become an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University. Robert holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has received 2 Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry.

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