American Life in Poetry: Column 693


Jehanne Dubrow's most recent book is Dots & Dashes, from Southern Illinois University Press. Her husband is a naval officer and she's written some very fine poetry about military life. Here's a poem that plays upon the unlikely intersection of weaponry and chocolate. Jehanne Dubrow lives and teaches in Texas.

From the Pentagon

He brings me chocolate from the Pentagon,
dark chocolates shaped like tanks and fighter jets,
milk chocolate tomahawks, a bonbon
like a kirsch grenade, mint chocolate bayonets.
He brings me chocolate ships, a submarine
descending in a chocolate sea, a drone
unmanned and filled with hazelnut praline.
He brings me cocoa powder, like chocolate blown
to bits. Or chocolate squares of pepper heat.
Or if perhaps we've fought, he brings a box
of truffles home, missiles of semisweet
dissolving on the tongue. He brings me Glocks
and chocolate mines, a tiny transport plane,
a bomb that looks delicious in its cellophane.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2017 by Jehanne Dubrow, "From the Pentagon," from Dots & Dashes, (Southern Illlinois University Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Jehanne Dubrow and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.