The second son, having made the school baseball team, Informs his startled father that they are underequipped In the matter of bats—sticks, hammers, the implements Of destruction, the tools of the trade, the thunder lumber, As the salesman says cheerfully. There is a dense forest Of bats against the wall, gleaming graphite and brilliant Maple, aluminum in every conceivable shade and sheen, And the father gets absorbed in the names, the Torpedos And Thunderclubs, Phantoms and Cyclones, the Patriots And Nitros, Magnums and Maxxums, Rayzrs and Ultras, And, rivetingly, the Freak, which comes in thirteen sizes, Which makes you wonder. The father, a terrible baseball Player as a boy, admires but does not say anything about The extraordinary lean loveliness of the ash bats hanging Lonely at the far end. The boy chooses a bright red metal Hammer, takes a few swings, waggles it a bit, hoists it up On his shoulder, says this'll do, and the sacramental hour Passes, as all holy moments must. But they do happen, as Fast and terrifying as a baseball fired right at your noggin. The batter's job, the second son says, is to identify a pitch As soon as it leaves a pitcher's hand. Seeing is everything, He says, and for once we are in complete and utter accord
You stand side by side, i miei cugini, the Italian version of "American Gothic" bisected by iron security gates, to watch us snaking in inches toward X-ray machines. Your eyes glisten like the last buds of autumn. We carry the luggage of your love. It weighs nothing. But when the plane lifts into the night sky, only the moon has more luminescence, more weight than my heart
The man in the royal blue turban stands in a glass cage. His eyes, black rimmed halos of hazelnut and honey, are disengaged. He waits, as closed and silent as the doors
of the Mercy Gate. What would he ask me, shocked and awed by his dignity, as he is pawed by latexed hands that probe for bombs and contraband: Are you afraid? Do you
believe your life is saved by my disgrace? He submits, as serene as Siloam, not creating a scene, not exploding in rage. I avert my gaze as I wait.
But his eyes seize mine as the TSA decides he’s harmless like me. His silence seems to gauge the peril within my soul as I stand before him in my glass cage.
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).