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No one disputes that our fallen are heroes. But war itself is not heroic. This memorial day I have chosen to write and post this poem.

A Rumor of Uranium

Out on the lush delta of the Mekong River,
what grows the Mangroves
and feeds the cattails, the rice?

a people’s bones,
with their narratives of fire,

how the Black Hawk squadron came in,
in heavy-bellied flamingos spewing
hot shells,

a clattering of rotors from far away,
a storm of dark birds over the sun,
then a hurricane of flames, bonfire, ignition
of the villages.


Child as cinder.
Blackened bodies in the mud.

Kids, ours, helmets off,  legs off,
biting down on sticks,
on a good day o.d.’d on morphine,
left to die with the fallen.

The girl still in her mother’s arms,
all that is left of her mother, these arms
with their small and bloated cache
washed up on the delta shoreline.

Long sayonara of war, long night
of war,
specks running over the earth
loading, reloading,

firing at nothing,
at everything.


Take this infamy
to the thousandth power
and multiply it again—

that they told us Saddam
had uranium, yellow wampum
traded from Africa;

that is what the Intel said but did not
Intel drunk on a lie,
Intel in camo,
Iraqui feet to the fire for oil.

This is why we occupied Iraq,
bivouacked in Afghanistan:
to cut off the snake’s head
unable to find the snake,

pissed on Normandy, shamed
the Harbor’s sleepless ghosts.


Wilson writes in the NYT,
no uranium cake from Africa
has fallen into Saddam’s hands.

No listeners,
only the faint sound
of the truth succumbing
to euthanasia.

The Bush war room
and the green light.
The darkening faces
of the yellow
placing the order for war.

Iraq torn to shreds.
250,000 Iraqis
over 5,000 American troops
Thousands maimed.

Eighteen vet suicides per diem—
gun-barrels down the gullet
at reveille.


What is my country,
but its own self-anointed
angel of death,
to roll into Baghdad
with shock and awe,

to plunder Afghanistan
to desecrate the dead.

What is my country
but ruthless, so immoral
as to take out civilians
with eyeless demonic planes.


In the beginning
was the gun, genesis
of war’s implacable night,

rumor of uranium,
napalm lust,
warfare compulsion:

we, aggressor homus erectus,
horns forever locked,
boy-men amped up on testosterone,
hooked on lies,

setting the earth on fire,
burning down the barn
with the horse still inside,
our humanity a callous fiction.

copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews Memorial Day 2012