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by Edison Jennings

1983, Mediterranean/North Africa Deployment

Gibraltar looked like a leftover piece of a tectonic puzzle, divinely abandoned
when continents parted and oceans decanted on African Eden.

The fat sun went down, a sickle moon rose, and Venus sat pretty on the thin lunar cusp
while the USS Eisenhower headed for home, six sailors and airmen lost in the wake.

We tried to remember where we were going and where we had gone,
what circles sailed and what vectors flown, but the wind spoke in tongues

and none of us heard the howling chorus of Barbary apes that sang our epode:
Africa burning, bodies unburied, the bereaved in the ruins biding their time.

Edison Jennings enlisted in the Navy in 1981 and separated with an honorable discharge as an AW1 in 1994. Afterwards, he went to graduate school and now serves on the faculty of Virginia Intermont College. His poem “Wake” is a slightly fictional remembrance of a 1983 Mediterranean cruise aboard USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69). His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. His chapbook Reckoning was published by Jacar Press in November, 2013 (

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