This poem appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe, click here.

Picked squadrons of the swiftest jets
Streak over every quarter hour;
Trim choristers in epaulets
Sing paeans to resistless power.

The missle-laden flatbeds pass
In low-gear promenade before
Reviewing stands of aging brass
With medals from a finished war.

The foreign dignitaries see
New armored cars and slate-gray bombs,
While ranks of clockwork infantry
Perform the manual of arms.

The Chairman of the JCS
Stands ramrod-rigid at the side
Of congressmen in formal dress
Who orate on how heroes died

And how, when prompted by command,
The armies of the Lord of Hosts
Shall scour air and sea and land
To turn our foemen into ghosts.

The bunting, banners, and the flags
Hang motionless, becalmed, at ease,
Like sails reduced to tattered rags
Untouched by any vagrant breeze,

And shades, who once held spears and shields,
Recall, remember, contemplate
The peopling of their barren fields—
The place, the weapon, and the date.