Back Taxes

The Germans appealed World War I,
  so I was sent to the trenches,
taking my grandfather’s place.
  For days I saw no one, except
an enormous storm of a man,
  who fought for neither side,
but drove a rusted combine,
  collecting back taxes like
golf balls at a driving range.
  As his squeaking tractor scoured
the trenches he demanded,
  “Back taxes, back taxes!”

If you didn’t duck he took up
  your scalp like a head of wheat,
so I dug down, looked after
  my tomatoes and corn.
Jets, too, roared overhead, but I guessed that
  out in the distance, somewhere
amongst the farmland of old,
  large general stores lay empty,
and the highways died silently,
  trafficked only by men with guns,
in haphazard uniforms,
  beating the pavement,
burning gasoline for their fires at night.

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