by Mark Mansfield

The morning air feels fresher here.
All at once, next to a mound
of newly dug earth, rifles appear
to salute a cloudless sky. And while
they do, somebody’s choked-back tears
are muted by the blanks sounding
until each barrel descends
in place, as two young soldiers file
alongside the tri-colored bier.
Both fold, then one expertly bends
the flag into a perfect wedge.
While a boy who used to play “War” near,
camouflaged by some neighbor’s hedge,
no longer plays. Today war ends.

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About Mark Mansfield

Mark Mansfield's poems have appeared in various publications, including The Adirondack Review, Antietam Review, Bayou, Blue Mesa Review, The Evansville Review, Fourteen Hills, Gargoyle, Good Foot, The Ledge, Magma, Orbis, Salt Hill, Scrivener, Tulane Review, and Unsplendid.