Here’s the secret about war, she thinks, it’s such a bore,
government shacks, feckless roaches,
harsh shampoo if you can get it,
staticky radio tuned to cooking tips,
and worst of all—the community clotheslines
with your sheets and dresses next
to a stranger’s underwear
and even worse—
abandoned shirts and pants
hanging lifeless in the rain,
until the chaplain’s wife sends
them home with a flag and a note.
But once, his band played the islands,
and oh dear God,
we danced to String of Pearls.
—For the World War II veterans still alive.