The women sat there

aging like their

cheap wine

wearing decorations

from imperial wars

of old

as their children,

conceived on mid-tour leave

years ago

leave home

for the first time

to go


the lingo

of soldiers

as they sweat away

their young souls

at their JROTC

summer camp.

Would you like another glass?

And oh, by the way

my niece leaves

for basic training

in the fall