Springfield '03

My granddad had a relic
hanging in his closet.
I saw it once
while rifling
for his favorite
blue umbrella.

"What's this?"
I asked excitedly
not needing him to answer.
"My service rifle, sonny,"
he said through custom teeth.

All steel was blued
the highest shine.
Its wood was well intact.
A dulled edge on its bayonet
coerced my mind to wander.

"They issued these
with leather slings?"
my anxious tongue inquired.
"No. They came with canvas."
He didn't seem impressed.

I stroked the strap, its stitching
worn, admiring its craftsman.

"You bought it then?"
"My best friend did."
"...a gift?"
"He died in France."

That was the last I asked of war.
I found him his umbrella.
And when he passed
a few years back
no weapon plagued his will.

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