Retirement

L. Burton Brender

i accept the death
of that part of me
who thought it
was all of me, 

growing into
smallness i give away
the power to argue
how great i am

and instead find
under cover of award
and faded accolade
the reason

i worked hard
when i went unsung
and was happier
for it


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L. Burton Brender is an active duty US Army armor officer stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Most published as a military essayist, his nonfiction has been featured on The Strategy Bridge, Small Wars Journal, the Tacoma News Tribune, the Indian magazine Salute, Foreign PolicyArmor, and the DISAM Journal. His poetry has previously been published in Military Review and his long-form poem, “Field Stripping the M4 Rifle”, won the 2018 Yakima Coffeehouse Poet competition. Along with C. Rodney Pattan, he is the coauthor of In Cadence, a book of poetry from two Army officers that Foreword Reviews described as a “thoughtful, dynamic collection of poetry.” His latest work, Cashmere, is a pictorial history of his central Washington hometown forthcoming in 2019 from Arcadia Publishing. He is a member of the Olympia Writers Group, the Military Writers Guild, and Write on the River, and the leader of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Agora.