News Poetry: A call to arms

Recess becomes a drill,
the schoolyard a parade ground
and the squad—
thirty first graders
in raggedy formation,
their uniforms not
uniformly neat.

The sergeant wears skinny jeans
and Uggs. No one salutes
but no one blinks
at the command “duck and cover.”

Though hesitation earns demerits,
if they—these little troopers—
learn “about face”
they earn gold stars
like good conduct medals
to pin on their thin chests.
They have no time to read.

Photo credit: National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Creative Commons, Flickr 
Karen Douglass has taught writing at Front Range Community College and is a member of The Academy of American Poets and Columbine Poets of Colorado. Her most recent poetry is Two-Gun Lil (212). Visit Karen at