Memorial Day 2020

Jan Barry

Bury ’em six feet deep
Or stand six feet apart—
Clutch your heart,
Adjust your face mask—
Memorial Day is very
Different this year—
COVID deaths surpassed
War dead in weeks—
Body bags stacked
n corridors, backs of trucks,
Hastily bulldozed graves—
Never such a death storm
Since World War Two—
ualties in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq,
nistan topped in three months—
Shouldn’t we fly
The flags at half-mast—
Display gold stars in the windows
Of those so suddenly lost?
Obits jammed into newspapers—
So many lives snuffed out
Like candles at a nursing home
Birthday party—
Can you count them all—
Blazing in their 20s, 30s, 40s,
50s, 60s, 70s—
Virus sweeping through
Veterans’ homes
Like silent machine-gun fire—
May Day, May Day!
The high flying life is crashing—
Flyovers by war planes
Won’t raise the dead, the dying—

Jan Barry is a New Jersey-based journalist, poet, artist, author, and editor of more than a dozen books of poetry, prose, and photography. A US Army veteran of Vietnam, he teaches environmental studies at Ramapo College.