IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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THE STICK SOLDIERS

Hugh Martin

To soldiers, I hope the war is fine. -Girl Scout Troop 472 The children have colored the cards, dated from December, with Christmas trees, piles of presents, snowmen smiling, waving. Sara wants a doll. Evan, a dog. Kyle promises to pray for us. Outside the hooch, we open mail, hundreds of letters from youth groups, scout troops, classes of school children. Kearns wants to write back, ask for pictures of older sisters. We tape our favorites to the door. In blue crayon, a stick-figure soldier poses as he’s about to toss a black ball, fuse burning, at three other stick figures, red cloth wrapped over faces, Iraki written across stick chests. In Jalula,* the children draw us pictures, too. In white chalk, on concrete walls, a box-shaped Humvee with two antennae rising like balloons from the hatch. A stick-soldier holds a machine-gun; he waves at us, us, in the Humvees. Further down the wall, a stick-man holds an RPG* aimed toward the Humvee, the waving soldier’s head— what the children want for Christmas, or what they just want. Jalula: A small town in Iraq 80 miles northeast of Baghdad in Diyala province RPG: rocket propelled grenade

 
 
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