Soldier Boy – by Karen Greenbaum-Maya


Who’s this? says my grandson
poking the Ché Guevara refrigerator magnet
we’d picked up at a tourist shop in Paris,
such a bougie thing to have El Ché’s image.
He was a soldier, I offer, swamped by Batista,
by Motorcycle Diaries’ humanity,
the medical student saving life,
he was killed in his war.
We’d heard a lean girl in a seaside resto tell her friend
I saw that movie. I almost felt guilty.

My five-year-old grandson snorts, delicately.
Soldiers don’t die, he proclaims,
they know how to protect themselves.
Star Wars and careful parents
have taught him near-guarantees.
Sometimes the war is too big,
they can’t protect themselves enough,
I reply, then wonder
why I need to convince him
the world will be too big for him,
the world will be more than he can bear.




Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, two-time Pushcart nominee and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art but still thinks about it a lot. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Kelsay Books publishes her book-length collection, The Book of Knots and their Untying.



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