Beautiful.  These rock band boys, giddy as pups given an open field. So pumped.

Drumbeats loud as amplified hearts.  Muscled and optimistic, they can meet anything head on.


Years ago they’d have marched off to Vietnam, skinny and scared. Helmets and camouflage.

Shell shocked or blasted.  Names etched on a wall.


Some of those boys, like Jesse, made it to Montreal. Guitars in hand, they held us close

in coffee houses and open mics. The war distant over the border.


They’re  older now. Faces softened, almost female. Youth settled around their middles

like memories that won’t let go.


And of the ones drafted who came back, some sleep on sidewalks

while next door my neighbor just wants to shoot every damned poppy on the block.


Babo Kamel

Originally from Montreal, Babo Kamel now resides in Florida. Her work is published in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada including the Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Lines + Stars, and most recently in Poet Lore. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers, is a Best of Net nominee, and a six-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is published with Finishing Line Press. Find her at She has a poem forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2020

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