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Poetry #150
(published September 4, 2003)
May 1943, Saturday, Sun Shock
by Tom Sheehan

May floored us; bees, new leaves,
sun patching the church porch
where we idled, Saugus Center
caught between naps.

                             Ernie Anganis
and me, between sessions, Spring
Practice, lunch gone, an hour wait,
the varsity waiting on our dreams.

                            We'd play, we
said, we promised, thinking brothers
out there heard us, in Navy blue,
olive drab, in Jap targets, Nazi gun

                            range, newsreels
they'd show Saturday, State Theater,
Pathe News. The World. The War. The
Wisdom. Why we'd wait on World War Three.

                            Mine was Korea,
but after wins, losses, touchdowns,
a long ride home from Amesbury, short
from Manning Bowl, silence, prayers

                            going past Lynn
Hospital when Dickie Evans clotted up,
(came back, played, died under his car
seems a hundred years later, golden lad).

                            Shook we were, Ernie,
me, Cushie Harris coming by, flexing.
'Tunis, Bizerte,' he said, then, 'Attu
in the Aleutians,' our lexicon geographied,

                            beaches coming at us
on gray newsreel wall, black and white
of death, nothing quite like an off-tackle,
fullback buck, halfback spin-around-end

                            going all the way
down Stackpole's green. War's effort,
like pasting stamps, tin can collections,
old car parts, tires in piles, rags for

                            uniforms, pantlegs,
mixing the orange grade in lardly oleo,
stealing car parts for the junk pile,
daring to be caught, dreaming touchdowns,

                            brothers, teammates,
now and then a girl from Cliftondale who
smiled from the slim horizon, laugh heard
yet across river's plunge, wind blowing right.

                            May has a way to it;
jam taste, rooms of the sun turned in-
side out on us, young, sprawled, sun-
shocked. We won the war. Who won the game?

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by Tom Sheehan

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by Graham Catt

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