When?, poem by Ysabel de la Rosa

Recruits are down, declares the report,
both in number and in attitude. Meanwhile,
rulers strategize.

Tactic 1: Betray
Once in combat, let no soldier leave, not
even when their tour is done. Trap them,
trick them, keep them. Do not count
the suicides.

Tactic 2: Go young
Thirteen’s a good age for soldier camp,
on home ground, with friends, and out
of school. Teach guns, not geography.
Combat, not calculus. Ammo without art.

Tactic 3: Lower sights
Permission granted to be less
physically in tune.
What does muscle matter,
now we have technology?
Fighting is a state of mind.

Behind the news:
We, the people know the difference
between what needs defending and
that which is indefensible.

When will the rulers read us?

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Tara Prescott