The Rip Post                               

The Nuclear Option
flashback, September of '72
the AFEES induction center downtown Oakland
an old woman is handing out little
government issue bibles to
all of us waiting to ship out to our
basic training assignments

her name is Betty Cooper

Mrs. Cooper preached to us on the
Sunday school bus in Easter Hill
back in the early 60's
told us stories and taught us the good shepherd's love with
cut out cloth characters that stuck to cloth boards

there was a secret chair on the
Sunday school bus too
and if they were lucky
the real believers
got a piece of
sweet Jesus candy
as affirmation

I thought I was saved

years later I find her
witnessing before the warriors
and the war

an aging soul harvester
working this worm hole
next stop station
into the future

"Mrs. Cooper?"


"I used to hear you on the
Sunday school bus,
do you remember me?"

she turned and looked up with
apocalypse eyeballs,
"The next great war is going to
happen in the Middle East,
here, in Iran! Don't let anyone
tell you differently,
mark my words,"
she dented the center of a tiny map
into the small of her hand
her stiff forefinger squashing the
sovereign spot good,
"Right here!"

Mrs. Cooper reached into a pocket
producing a little GI bible
which she pressed into my palm
          ---S.A. Griffin

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