Contesting the Homeland

                          En pointe, à pied,
                                       the soldiers pirouette
                                                       across no man’s land,
                              cutting entrechats over barbed
               wire loops and the remains
                                            of comrades potted deep
                                                             in mud;

                              his foxhole abandoned
             and gaping clear, that one
                                       saddest private took the barbs
                                                   with a grand jeté;
                                arms curling his head,
                 he joined the ballerina

                               rifles at arms,
                                      they rained down fire,
                   chipping out the dunes
                                         before the rolling tides of home,
                        helmets cloaked
        with the ash of death, and the wells
                                   of madness carved around
                                             their eyes

                                 The captain
                            opened his umbrella, lofting high
                                                      upon the air,
                                      and they followed,
                 oh they followed—
                                  singing of the cannons
                                                       in the clean,
                                                thin light





A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including And the Trillions (poetry), Kill Claus! (fiction), and Computing Angels (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at

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