Some Leave Home

by Samuel De Lemos

Some leave home
for the first time
young, bright,
full of hope.

On that final bus ride
the path is unclear.

The yelling starts, accentuated
with haircuts that
shed nonconformity;

everything that reminds
us of ourselves is neatly
sealed in a box.

We’re issued government
clothing, given
government food and sleep
on government cots.

We are trained to act
like a unit, trained
to march in cadence,
trained to shoot straight.

Somewhere down the line,
we all start to feel
pride. All the pull-ups,
all the sweat, begins to
make a difference in
our stride.

By graduation day we
look sharp,
spit polished;

we’re ready
to take on the

Off we go to our

In the end—

some will
never make it
back home.

That final bus ride
remains unclear.