after a photograph by August Sander

A boy no older than the Armistice
Can’t say for certain if there was a time
When he was not among the fatherless
Who make up half his neighborhood; to him
A mother’s someone always dressed in black,
Whose fierce embrace attempts to camouflage
Him and his brother from the stealth attack
Time won’t call off until they reach the age
For putting on the field-gray uniform
And helmet-spike they grew up worshiping
In photos on the mantelpiece at home,
Or what new uniforms the times will bring
To certify they’ve grown up into men
Whose deeds she won’t believe or understand,
Her destiny to suffer once again
Her usurpation by the motherland.