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Thank You for Your Service - poetry by Roger Li

Thank You for Your Service

Chests puffed, we tout

ultimate sacrifice;

loyalty trumps all.

Great uncle Sam points

his finger of pride,

raised to his children.

We want you

For US Army.

Just another boy serving —

the greatest nation on earth.


And so boys grow

into men, ready to

sign lives with ink.

They need not ponder:

freedom is telos.


Out we go,

clean-faced, like

chicks without feathers

ready to fly.

We jump, fresh air

hitting our faces

dreaming of medals,

and “thanks” from

Uncle Sam.


And we do,

come back to

a nod,

a moment of silence,

a thanks.


Too bad maple wood

holds our meat,

choking our breath,

muffling the world.


Uncle Sam is scared;

his pants may fall.

He creates a carnival

celebrating his game

that cannot be won:


A day of remembrance,

for the selfless,‘unforced’, bravery,

for the metal which seared through flesh

for the tears to wither green grass with their salt

for the lilies, bringing light to eyes, but darkness to day

for the good food, turned dry and stale, wine wasted in thought

for the bodies on bodies rotting meaninglessly into dirt

for the homes with many, but empty without one

for the children who follow in their steps

for the names scratched on walls

for the institution of death

for the lifeless eyes

for the thanks

that brings

no life.




Si Roger Li is a high school student from the Chicagoland area. He prefers the journalistic style of writing, but dabbles in poetry and creative writing in his free time. Roger enjoys the simple things in life like reading a good book, eating a good steak, and being around good friends. His poetry and prose has published in Journal and Topics, Versification, JHHF Review, and Eskimo Pie among others. He hopes to become either a sociologist or philosopher so that he will always be closely tied to the beauty of writing, and savor the meaning behind each word.

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