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In Which She Considers Joining the Force

Editor’s Note: This poem by Jane Satterfield is being presented as part of our special focus on poetry during #PoetryMonth in April. Please read our introduction to the series.


Poem
Morning’s cake & rain & cups of coffee.
I can’t see the mountain majestic
but there’s a clearing called where I might
have ended up. There’s 17 & who
I should date (or screw) & why (or why not):
what paths I should pursue, what future dreams
& fields of study—the list goes on & on. There’s
the kitchen where coffee’s brewing & the radio
shifts between stations, Dad’s fatigues sudsy
in the daily wash. He’s not alone in saying
that of all the ways to pay for college, this
might not be a bad one, when the Commander-in-Chief
holds in reserve one hundred Academy slots
for offspring of military men & women, retired
or serving in good standing. A bookish girl could do worse
than toughen up, study English & outwit Salie
Mae.But I can’t see myself as G.I. Jane, decked out
in olive drab. And though it’s years until the Wall’s
fall shreds the Iron Curtain, I fear a future
caught in someone’s crosshairs, sandbagged
in a squadron like some frat house with guns.
Basic training might be worse: whose hands
might hold me down, a new recruit, my body for
the taking…. But my father only wants to help.
Some years are all unasked-for advice.
For now I’ll fold the sergeant’s standard issue
tees, pour the coffee, take another sip.


Copyright 2017, Jane Satterfield. Used with Permission by Autumn House Press.

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