by Kevin Klein
They drained this swamp two hundred years ago but didn't dry the air out half a damn. Sweat rolls down the inside of my shirt; a crowd of patient foreheads glisten above sunglasses. He walks that black-rubber carpet like clockwork, stepping in the worn shoe-prints. When we were kids, he couldn't sit still through one half-hour of cartoons, His letters say all they do is drill, And he kids me about my divorce like it's some old joke between us. He dropped his gun once, and was sore the next dry from pushup., He twists and shoulders the sharp rifle while staring straight ahead through mirror shades. Pretty good for a kid who couldn't take off a starter with a socket set, I wonder if beneath those shock-white gloves last summer's grease still ruts his palms and nails. He pivots toward the crowd, and cameras click at the striding monument to sacrifice who at eleven still wet the bed, and believed in Santa Claus till he was twelve, which was my fault. I feel the nation's pride hinge on his precision, his flawless wool and cotton, all symbol but the black tag: MORRIS. His monkey suit's still hanging in the shop, oiled smooth, his name in white cursive: Shane. He could have been my assistant manager. But I guess he's got a higher ladder to crawl here. lt's too bad I forgot my camera. I wrote him once to ask if there really was a soldier buried in the Unknown Tomb, He didn't know.