The hill rises, as smooth and rounded

stones shoulder, headless, on the grass.

Workers pause, as a caisson rumbles past,

and pause again, as somewhere taps is sounded,

returning from the names of infantry,

Marines, the many guys who went ashore,

and now, from the Middle East, the many more,

whose final rites we’re not allowed to see.

Except at the VA at Togus, where I go

to get my meds. They’re all younger now,

almost all. It is as if they’ve crept

from under flags, from under mounds, low

roundings in the ground, as if they’ve slept,

and rise to seek the life they’ve lost somehow.

H.R. Coursen of Brunswick teaches Shakespeare at Southern New Hampshire University. His latest collection of verse is “Blues in the Night” available from Moonpie Press.