Apples Keep Falling Off The Military Branch

by F. Drabick
(Maine)

Not long ago that vet was a hard worker;
Now he’s a hard thinker – disabled
By wars fought, they say, for big business
Under the guise of patriotism; They say

Pushed by fat comfy-cats in congress
Who blame the middle-class poor,
Their obese kids, and retirees for the
Ills that chill the lining of larded pockets.

He has a $100 bucks a month to spend on food.
The grocer’s apples look good but
99 cents per pound makes the vet place two red
delicious back on the pyramid scheme.

Boxed mac ‘n cheese @ 4 for a dollar
Fills a belly with carbs that yields
High blood sugar, thus builds industrial
Fat quickly within the human torso.
Diabetes in a box for the poor vet.

Do the rich eat pasta daily? The vet wonders
As he fingers the dollar orange filled with gold.
‘Why are the poor are so fat?’ He swivels
To the two talking heads not even weighing
The luscious grapes they cart away.

They avoid him like pasta carbs. Carb barbs
And a plate of body image, please.

But he still craves an apple; so he searches
The rural land for a dead American farm
Where 40 year old apple trees match his age
In a surrounding of foreclosed welfare weeds,
From the at-home economic war

Where he and white-tailed deer share the crispness
Of mottled apples in the autumn air before
The snow bites the back of his neck like
Another piece of frigid shrapnel.


I write this poem for all of us to remember the reality of how many vets end up without good jobs or good wages after they have done their duty, and in many cases gave a physical part of themselves. We must remember them as they come home: we, the people, and the people we elect, must hold up our end of the bargain for them.

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