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Moloch, God of War.

The War on Terror, 2001--

Moloch, God of War

    Another woman and her bundle enter
    your serpentine line. Forever, you spread your hands
    over fire to welcome those who feed your pit,
    the gut under your calf-head crown. They who bring
    children believe in your blessing. Your blaze engulfs
    their gifts, etching promises, below stone,
    in the sand. The woman does not feel
    her hand sifting the hair at the blanket's edge.
    Do not lament the child--keep to the winding
    path. Your priests pass the next offering, her son--

      (His name, I wasn't planning to tell you, was Brock.
      He liked playing football on his Xbox and cooking
      Thai food, and he was in love with Karen,
      the neighbor girl who he used to watch
      from his second story window when she
      would sunbathe on her patio from his 8th grade year
      till he shipped off to San Diego, where the girls
      lack fences.)

    --Cymbals and drums compound, mesmerize
    mothers, and swallow a child's last cries. Today, under
    your jeweled glare, this empty-armed mother turns back,
    her eyes alight with tears. She smiles, patriotic, proud.
    Your fire stirs the young soldier's ashes like swirling snow.

      (It's tacky, I know, to interrupt again and
      the "swirling snow" should be allowed to linger,
      but Brock would be angry that you--and by you,
      of course, I mean me--used snow to describe
      his death, which was from a cliched I.E.D.
      and lacked swirling. And how does snow
      in the desert work? What do you gain
      from juxtaposition when a Marine's dead?
      Perhaps the explosion under the truck swirled,
      but no, no, that's all wrong. I should have ended
      with his mother and killed the political implications.
      I wanted to imply that if their platoon had received
      the armor his CO requested two years ago, he never
      would have bled out in the sand. That's probably too
      political. I'll cut all this and end with the biblical context
      and the swirling snow.)
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Author:Dop, Gary
Publication:James Dickey Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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