70 Miles from Philadelphia

70 Miles from Philadelphia


I remember the air raid drills in first grade

the siren out in the playground

would spin and howl three times

and we would all march out into the hallway

away from possible flying glass

and sit on the floor and curl up

and put our hands over our heads

and our heads between our knees

and close our eyes so that the bright light

wouldn’t hurt our eyes

70 miles from Philadelphia

60 miles from the chemical plants on the Delaware

63 miles from Ft. Dix and Maguire Air Force Base

120 miles from New York

110 miles from Baltimore

175 miles from Washington

5 miles from the entrance to the Delaware Bay

that leads to the Philadelphia Navy Yard

and we closed out eyes and hid our heads

while Joe McCarthy ranted and raved on radio and television

and after a while we weren’t afraid any more

though for years I grew, expecting war at any time

expecting nearly everyone else to be killed

like in On The Beach or Farnham’s Freehold

knowing that it would never be me

because I knew what to do

I knew the silhouette

of every American and Russian plane in the sky

now, now I don’t care

and I find it hard to believe that I ever did

I have enough trouble just paying the rent

and staying sane at work

I guess I’m just too tired to be scared or angry




About paganveteran

National Coordinator of the Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign and current National Commander, Pagan Veterans of the United States of America. Author, writer, poet, speaker and general disturber of the peace.
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