In autumn I wrestle the plastic water slide to the ground, my legs like bellows riding the sides,
then pinch the thick airholes into slits to hear the sizzle of release. A slight wind lifts
my husband’s early summer breath into September air. It is as if
the lung of summer in the body of the world is collapsing. I grip the plastic and furl
the bottom toward the top, trapping air too slow to exit. Geese above me flare
and part; a thatch of brown grass below dies. Those who claim their losses know
the exquisite pain of letting go. I drag the slide into the cellar, where it will sag
in a dank corner until June, when once again small bodies will skim down its inflated spine
beyond our reach. Breathe, boys, breathe, we pant, then slacken our jaws, unclench our teeth.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).