Gold Star

Something to make you take notice, small and plain,
an anti-advertisement in the window
of a second floor apartment, busy street,
a gold star on off-white cloth bordered by crimson,
eight inches high rectangle in a windowpane
for months now I've seen as I've driven past.

Presented to parents of soldiers who have passed
away in combat, the gold star makes it plain:
this is a house where the terrifying pain
of war is real, screaming through each door and window
like light, sunset, a coffin's lining of crimson
velvet, for those passing on the street

to see--feel, react, perhaps stop--a street
signal saying come out of yourself, don't scream past.
Become part of the remembrance of our son,
our daughter, a point on a terrifying plane
of a geometry transparent as this window.
Join us in a circular pain

as you go past, allowing that pain
to inhabit you beyond this house, onto the next street
and town so as you roll down your window
it will be as if you never passed
but stopped at a point on the universal plane,
left yourself, and floated into the crimson

of closed eyes, through the burial of a son,
the skirmishes, bombardments, frozen pain
of the shrapnel, bullet, shell, car bomb, plain
dumb luck of patrolling the wrong street
at the wrong time, of driving past
the wrong open window

of the sniper kneeling in his own window
of the ones he's seen soaked in their own crimson
blown open until there is no past
for anyone because it's all too painful,
war and combat becoming a one way street
where one truth is constant and plain:

there is a path of crimson on this busy street,
end time seeping through this pane, this window,
past anything anyone can explain.

by Myles Gordon

Myles Gordon is a past winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize and an AWP Intro Award honorable mention. He has published poetry in dozens of publications including the recent anthology: Awake! A Reader for the Sleepless (Soft Skull Press). He currently works as a producer for the news/magazine program Chronicle on Boston's ABC television affiliate, WCVB TV. He is a winner of four New England Emmy Awards for his work in television production. He currently is an MFA/Poetry candidate at Vermont College.

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