Colleen J. McElroy


she says after high school
it was this or some deadend job
so what choice did I have

twice recruiters chased me
across the mall caught me between
cheap clothes and fast food

told me about a good life
in uniform until they had me
thinking how good I'd look

Afro braids tucked under my cap
she says there was no place
to hide — recruiters tracked me

down strolling along like I had
time to kill and going home
was the last thing on my mind

we're all family they said then
dropped me in this detachment with
dumb chicks waltzing in acting crazy

like nobody ever sent them running
cause of the color of their skin
and if you want to know the truth

all of us crazy on dust and blood
and how much crap we gotta take
before this war is over — and

about the time I'm thinking
black or white one body's good
as another on the front line

reporters come in to scoop the action
for folks back home and the white
chicks pose for cameras and I'm thinking:
this ain't family worth a damn