“Unknown Soldiers” By Brian Rihlmann




There ought to be
a monument,
a sort of war memorial
for workers killed
on construction sites,
in industrial accidents,
for those chewed up
and spit out
by the cruel machinery.

For migrant workers,
underpaid foreigners
crippled by cut corners,
then banished
from this promised land
of stone faced natives,
not so far removed.

For those whose true genius
was stamped out in childhood,
and their lives burned up,
firewood reduced to ash
by the slow flame
of factory drudgery,
by the booze and pills
that made enduring it possible.

Unknown soldiers
fighting daily battles
every bit as important
to our way of life
as men in uniform.

But such a monument
would cover half the country
in a black granite slab,
a giant tombstone
where fields of grain stand tall.

So there will never be one,
of that I am certain,
just as I am certain
that somebody,
somewhere, someday,
will hate me
for writing this.

About the Author: Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.
Image Credit: Lewis W. Hine “Doffer Boys, Macon, Georgia” (1909) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

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