Battleship | Kim King

USS_California_BB-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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