Close, that line that none can see
beneath the river,
from one great lake to another.
Years of watching the toll of war
play out on the television.
Hundreds of thousands lost – ours.
Theirs – more than a million.
Protests on campus and city streets
over lives lost to capitalist hunger.
Children lost when guns are placed
in the hands of children.
Years of watching, waiting
for my number to be drawn,
gazing across the river to Canada,
neighbor and refuge in time of war.
Relief when my number is drawn.
Thankful for a border
that would have provided safe haven.
This poem is my response to Poetics – War Poetry, the prompt from Björn at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem referencing war.
Through all of my teenage years, reports from war correspondents during the Viet Nam War ran nightly on television, as did reports of protests in the streets and on college campuses across the country by peace activists and others protesting the loss of lives on both sides of the war. My number was drawn in 1972, the last year of the draft lottery in the US. Living near Buffalo, NY, on the border with Canada, I always considered going to Canada as an alternative to reporting for induction into the service. At the time, troop deployments were decreasing, and my draft number was high – 266 – and I breathed a sigh of relief.
The Peace Bridge, between Buffalo, New York & Fort Erie, Ontario
built in 1927 to celebrate the long-standing peace between two nations