The Battleground

It’s strange to think my enemy
had looked me in the eye. 
While those I’d fought for look away—
they see me and walk by.

 On cars and signs they state with pride: 
“We support the men who died.” 
But no one flashes a smile, 
and no one offers a hand. 
I was more accepted in that foreign land.

 My best friend, as he lay dying, 
said there are ideas worth fighting for. 
But ideas change, and memories fade, 
and us forgotten fighters, we know only war. 

 On cars and signs they state with pride: 
“We support the men who died.” 
And as I watch, the fights begin— 
these ignorant selfish wars
between my countrymen. 

 My fallen comrades are at peace now, 
a peace that I have not yet found
on friendless streets, or in my memories. 
Life made more sense back on the battleground.


Clarence Chapin teaches English Composition at the high school and college levels, and writes creatively on the side. He has been previously published in Vestal Review and Down in the Dirt.