Sometimes you say it’s hard to be a hero
these days, there are no wars
like the wars of your grandfather’s days.
The truth is
so much of it now is just like life, the guys
coming over for a drink after work and the XO
breakdancing in a pair of running pants
at the Christmas party and all the Lieutenants
in reindeer costumes with their girls on their arms,
and at the end of the night it is late and the dog is waiting
at the door and we could be just like any other couple,
stumbling home from any other party.
But when you talk about wartime, what you tell me
is how many stars there were, and how
some boys flew a kite on the mountain.
What you don’t talk about
is huddling with a group of soldiers in a bunker
while the rockets came over the walls, how
most of you by chance came out, but two did not.
They were Canadian, you said offhandedly,
when you’d been home for a while,
and you never said it again.
VICTORIA KELLY received her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poetry appeared in Best American Poetry 2013, and her chapbook, Prayers of an American Wife, was published by Autumn House Press in 2012. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter.