The Enlistees by Glen Armstrong


The Enlistees 


We can’t concentrate.

We drop out of school.

We forget how screwed-


in-the-head war

has left our grandfathers,

their hands and glass


eyes demanding more

of us than we can give.

We stop listening.


We consider enlisting.

We want to stare the world

down, crush its fingers,


see what it’s made of.

We want young girls

with plywood violins


to kiss us as they flee

from refugee camps.

We want our papers stamped.


We need ink.

This town is closing

in on us.



Glen Armstrong edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has two new chapbooks: Simpler Times and Staring Down Miracles. He spends part of his year teaching writing in a Michigan prison.