Before Federal Authorization

The white soldiers treat you like a servant
because they have only seen negroes
work as servants.

It should matter that you wear
the same uniform as they wear
with brass buttons embossed with the letters US.

But they think you are a toy soldier.
The product of some misguided General
and Senator Lane from Kansas.

You note how they are armed
with the latest Springfield rifles
while you carry an imported Austrian smoothbore.

At least your musket is modern enough
for percussion caps instead of the older flintlock.
It was fitted for a bayonet from the start.

You wait your chance to prove yourself.
Your wait will be short.
You march to Island Mound tomorrow.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

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