Combat Papers or the New/Old Glory
From uniform to pulp
Battlefield to workshop
Warrior to artist
Every recollected treachery,
page after watermarked page—
these combat papers,
sewn from stolen threads.
All will mix in the macerating vat.
Slice the arms and legs, their sourdough
of camouflage & sweat,
strips to dunk in a Holland beater & release:
limp vows, such raggedy bonds.
A cutter called a guillotine
slits the deckled edge,
Every head's its own
inside the cradled
fold of a shirt turned paper flag.
Nothing can remove
that splash of pulp.
Watch her stamp
the letters I.E.D. across the uniform sheets.
Warriors like them—
the ones who carried paper making
wisdom to the Tigris and Euphrates,
through the Hanging Gardens,
Second Wonder of the Ancient World!
Sown with the stolen
threads of youth, the back-break
stoop of the fallen, every cottoned row:
our field of dimming stars & stripes.