From this distance Lincoln appears to be slouching
in his chair, as if defeated at what he must cast his eyes
upon with each new sunrise. Snaking monuments
of war that these children, newly released from classrooms,
trudge alongside with paper and lead in hand, searching
for surnames perfectly etched. Some hold their tongues
as told while others see their faces captured in slabs
of granite. Like miniature mothers and small bands
of brothers, they mutely reflect the generations past.
They carry on quietly with interlocked hands toward
the National Gallery of Art, across a stretch of grass
reserved for a future shrine of conflict, many marching
in unison with a soldier’s sure footing, while others
are dragged away protesting, looking over
their shoulders in despair.
Thad DeVassie’s poems and prose poems/flash fiction have appeared in New York Quarterly, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, North American Review, Poetry East, West Branch, NANO Fiction, PANK Magazine, FLASH: International Short Story Magazine and Sycamore Review among others. A lifelong Ohioan, he runs RATCHET, a brand and messaging studio in Columbus and is the co-founder of JOY VENTURE, a storytelling platform and podcast featuring entrepreneurs who are discovering, developing and spreading their joy with the world. About “Field Trip to the Mall,” DeVassie writes, “My interest in documentary film-making provided the framework for this piece: Be present but don't get in the way. Allow time for the scenes unfold. Listen. Discover the story instead of forcing one.”