2017 Fall Poetry Winner “Deployed” by David Colodney

Enderssaints
Before becoming a writer, David Colodney was a fetus and, prior to that, an embryo. David realized at an early age that he had no athletic ability whatsoever, so he turned his attention to writing about sports instead of playing them, covering everything from high school flag football to major league baseball for The Tampa Tribune and The Miami Herald. David holds an MA from Nova Southeastern University and an MFA from Converse College, where he served as poetry editor of the South 85 literary magazine. He was recently nominated for Best New Poets and was a finalist for the 2017 DISQUIET International Prize for Poetry. His work has appeared or will appear in St. Petersburg Review, South Carolina Review, California Quarterly, Shot Glass Journal, and Gyroscope Review, among others. David lives in Boynton Beach, Florida with his wife, three sons, and golden retriever.

Deployed
Your bedroom clock scatters us in minutes.
You rattle off random tasks                  chores
before departure:         physicals           basic
training               storage           lease-breaking.
You already speak staccato
like your drill sergeant, hollow
broken syllables.           Standing at attention
we survey these blank walls
pretending:      diminished breaths
an open window.           A lonely cloud burst
blurs your orders         clutched in spastic hands
tearstains         drain white paper gray.
I see through the folded print                an x-ray.
If I touch that letter, it means you’re leaving,
so I let angular words                dangle.
In this minute, there’s no changing you.
In this room, we live a moment
we don’t understand:                your bedroom clock
spins time faster            as you ship out to serve
               decaying America.
Young soldier, if your country loomed as large as your heart
beating under camouflage       last name         embroidered,
flag emblazoned                         if only                your country
                            appreciated.
In this minute, I don’t know:                  salute you
or hug you so tight
you never go.
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