Bombs were falling on Vietnam
like hard rain over my garden. July
peas gave their first growth for canning
and my cousin Jim left for boot camp.
Thirty years later, I stare at photographs
of Iraqi prisoners, most my cousin’s age,
hooded and stripped, stacked in a pyramid.
An American soldier teeters on top,
someone’s daughter and already fatigued.
Like Jim, she’ll never come back, not really—
not the girl with half-shut eyes splitting threads
of a baseball, knocking it beyond bleachers
into a galaxy of spitting stars, hot
and nameless, too new for the Milky Way.