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Page 4
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<< 3. Agent Orange's Long, Brutal Reach5. To the Future (poem) >>

War's Long Reach (poem)

By Jan Barry

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Memorial Day 2022

Jeff Sharlet was 27
When the war in Vietnam
He came happily home from,
That catapulted him into college honors
And anti-war activism,
Whacked him with kidney cancer.
Agent Orange poisoning,
His brother wondered.
Jeff died in Coral Gables, Florida in 1969.

Cody Camacho was 39
When the war in Iraq
He tried to put behind him—
Raising a family with two kids,
Helping fellow vets
at his American Legion post—
Unleashed horrendous demons
Dragging him into a black hole
Of suicide.
Cody died in Des Plaines, Illinois
last November.

Ellie Garcia was 9
When a teenage assassin
Assaulted her classroom
With a semi-automatic rifle
Designed for jungle warfare in Vietnam.
Ellie died in Uvalde, Texas last week
In a hellacious massacre
With 18 classmates and her teachers.

War kills in myriad ways.
There are not enough memorials
And bouquets of flowers
To cover the carnage.

—Jan Barry

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