It was decided in Washington by someone
wearing a suit and tie, perhaps suspenders,
perhaps a bowtie.
The war was declared over and thus
it was — for us. We pulled out our tired troops
from one of the countries where we had been warring,
leaving behind plenty of bullets and bombs
for our proxies. Despite our declaration of “war over”
the war didn’t end at that certain moment,
but went on without us while we sent our soldiers
to fight in another, similarly senseless, war
in another country.
Other parties to the war kept fighting without us.
In the mayhem that continued, we were hardly missed,
even though we had set it all in motion years before.
By the old rules, a country is supposed to declare war
before it begins, but those are the old rules.
By the new rules, made up as we go, we declare
an end to war when we are through with it. If only
we could mesh the old and new, and the people, in chorus,
would demand “war over” before it had begun.