by Doug Rawlings

November comes on to me like a C-130

slinking into Dover Air Force base

laden with tin caskets

draped in red, white, and blue


I know

I know I should just

let it be


Okay, I can still do this:

push my shopping cart down

the local IGA’s aisles

pick up cheese and wines and crackers

while avoiding aluminum cans

like the plague

pay the cashier

smile at the bagger

push the cart out into the parking lot

neatly place everything I just bought


into the dumpster out back


light up a smoke



Sure, sure, you want me to join in

on your celebrations

bless our bounty

accept your thanks

for my service

as if I were some Pilgrim

come home to receive your grace


It is November, you say, and we set aside

a day just for you to wrap up war

with the dissonance of fife and drum

and bagpipes blaring down main street


as if we can all finally dance

to the same tune


Sorry about that


My dancing days are long gone

I’d rather skate across the pond alone


I have more faith in ice.