IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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ANTIETAM

Sandra Beasley

We all went in a yellow school bus, on a Tuesday. We sang the whole way up. We tried to picture the bodies stacked three deep on either side of that zigzag fence. We tried to picture 23,000 of anything. It wasn't that pretty. The dirt smelled like cats. Nobody knew who the statues were. Where was Stonewall Jackson? We wanted Stonewall on his horse. The old cannons were puny. We asked about fireworks. Our guide said that sometimes, the land still let go of fragments from the war—a gold button, a bullet, a tooth migrating to the surface. We searched around. On the way back to the bus, a boy tripped me and I fell— skidding hard along the ground, gravel lodging in the skin of my palms. I cried the whole way home. After a week, the rocks were gone. My mother said our bodies could digest anything, but that's a lie. Sometimes, at night, I feel the battlefield moving inside of me.

 
 
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