I enter to find all the students in uniform
occupying a small room.
I hand out pencils and registration forms.
Some begin without orders.
I remind them to remain anonymous
no names, just ID numbers should appear
on the waiting pages, white and clean
as unwritten letters or discharges.
Just a number.....the private
in BCGs and fatigues mumbles
from the back.....that’s all we are. A number
and a gun......His comrades laugh,
erasing what might have been.
Do your best.....I say,
and they settle, salute.
Added: Monday, June 30, 2014 / Used with permission.
Remica L. Bingham earned an MFA from Bennington College and is a Cave Canem fellow. Her first book, Conversion, won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh, was recently released from Etruscan Press in February 2013. Currently, she is the Director of Writing and Faculty Development at Old Dominion University. She resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children. remicalbingham.com.