All is accounted for except the farmer’s boy and the mill hand who lived near the canal, and the young men from the city block where the gutters fry in summer.
One of them sleeps with sand in his eyes, where he fell on a beach in Palau.
The bones of the fisherman rest in clay far from the rocks of Maine.
The cricket sings in the summer night, but the grocer’s clerk says nothing.
The fawn leaps in the wolf-proof wood, but jungle roots twine the postman’s feet.
The turtle is young as sixty-one, but the flyer is dead at eighteen.
They’ve given their noons to their country. They’ve trusted their girls to you. They lie very still in alien earth, for a bunch of tomorrows.
They’re dead as clay for our right to live, for people the likes of us.
“Fifty Years After 14 August” broadcast August 1995 on NPR