Double Agent

(the work-a-day adventures of a Yellow Springs peacenik and her green Honda Element, Egbert)
By Joan Harris

Me and Egbert, we’re always the odd men out

Egbert hates parking at Wright-Patt
He feels lost, a tiny fuel-efficient foreign SUV
Adrift in a sea of hulking Aspens and Escalades and Grand Cherokees
Sporting faded bumper stickers for Bush and the NRA
Each intent on sucking up its share of the spoils
From the war in the Middle East

Inside, I’m the butt of their jokes
“Peacenik Flower Child from Yellow Sprinkles”
Employment implies consent to monitoring and random drug screening
Confirming and denying are tasks above your pay grade
They lock you securely in a box then pretend
They want you to think outside of it.

Surrounded by retirees and their
Incessant chatter about the free health care they didn’t get
Their lives a private orbit of benefit and privilege that is never enough
While kids whose only hope for college is the GI Bill
Serve in war zones and return screwed up
More die by suicide than combat

We fit no better in Yellow Sprinkles
Egbert conspicuously parked in a row of Priuses at Tom’s
War protestors on the corner give us the thumbs-up as we drive past
They like the “Peace is Patriotic” magnet on the side
But we are not allowed to stand with them
Only smile and offer hot coffee

Sorry, I cannot sign your petition
The base pays us well to keep our opinions to ourselves
Speaking out against our Commander-in-Chief will not be tolerated                       Watered-down editorials submitted to the newspaper
Slip of tongue could result in pink slip
Mum’s the word. Or else.

Oh happy day and long-awaited
My retirement and the chance to live my authentic life
Ready to resist, rebel, reclaim… maybe a whiff of forbidden Mary Jane?
And just for the record, I can neither confirm nor deny
The existence of alien life in Area 51
I honestly have no idea


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