The battleship looms over the parking lot,
guns at ease, decommissioned, but proud,
rising from macadam, gray, like the seas
it navigated. The men who manned it, war
icons of courage, were boys then, excited
to voyage on vessels unlike the John Deeres
or Fords they knew. Bouncing on creaking seats
and chewing straw, they plowed and sowed
rows of copper soil, shooting Japs
with finger guns, anxious to be somewhere,
anywhere else. When they rolled on the open sea,
licking salt air, sniffing adventure, they longed
for pinup girls with red heels and winking
green eyes to slink off the wall into their bunks.
One day the Kamikazes blew up their buddies
on starboard side. They plowed dirt and buried
comrades in straight rows–– along with their youth.
Today, some stand on deck, reliving the best years.
Others return and sob in the parking lot.
Kim King was born and raised in Lockport, New York. She lived and studied in Grenoble, France, where she learned to drink espresso and red wine. She teaches French in a Central Pennsylvania high school where she is only known as “Madame.” She is currently enrolled in the M.A. in Writing Program at The Johns Hopkins University. Her poems have appeared in the 2011 book Prompted, An International Collection of Poems, River Poets Journal, Stone Mountain Review and Poetic Asides.One of Kim’s poems has been included in the recently published anthology Poetic Bloomings: the first year.