One Poem

Thom Ward


Alone in the middle of his parents' kitchen a boy prepares his school lunch. But today is different, today he pulls the plastic safety band from a jar of mayonnaise and fastens it around his neck. It fits perfectly, this plastic safety band. Other students have piercings and tattoos, but those cannot protect them from the recruiters with their pamphlets and promises. Always the recruiters in school, and nowhere now his older brother. Surely, they cannot take him, cannot put a dog tag around his neck while he wears a plastic safety band from a jar of mayonnaise. Surely, it violates some article from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He is pleased to be in violation, alone in the middle of his parents' kitchen, so pleased that he names it: Anti-Warmonger Condiment Collar. They have brass buckles and steel-toed boots, but they do not have this. He will never remove his Anti-Warmonger Condiment Collar, nor will he ever again eat mayonnaise. This is the oath he takes, placing his right palm on the top of the open jar, standing in the middle of his parents' kitchen, watching the rain bullet down, each drop piercing the earth.

Thom Ward

Thom Ward is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently The Matter of the Casket (CustomWords, 2007). He lives in upstate New York with his wife and son. His vices include reading, golf, and vodka martinis.