Carmen Eichman was a military brat

Military Brat?

So you’re a military brat?
Yes, I replied, each time, quizzically obedient,
though today wondering what the hell that meant.
We moved every two to three years,
moved in the middle of the year,
managed one Christmas eve in a Holiday Inn,
Christmas day on a plane,
entered a new school midway through.
Learned to scrap, not get squashed,
always an outsider.  Support groups for military kids?
Not for us, kids from nowhere.  I learned to ask, Which year? when people asked me
Where are you from?
She has VD, one girl shouted about me in front of my seventh
grade class in Hawaii while we played softball outside during gym.  
Like a swimmer, small breasted and big shouldered,
she was Hawaiian.  Diversity?  Sisterhood?  She was a bitch.  
The teachers were silent.  
A twelve year old virgin, my guilt – I was haole, white.
It was a military school.
My father, a Captain.  Her father, civilian.
And the branches of each state I had lived staked into, adding to, the weight of me,
my optimism as graceful as a logging truck crashing into a rusted guardrail.
Military brat.

* Author of the novel When the Ugly Comes, Carmen Eichman is an Assistant Professor of English and author of three poetry collections, living in North Carolina. Eichman’s poetry has appeared in A Little Poetry, All Things Girl, The Argotist Online, Subtle Tea, Invisible Ink, The Dan River Review, Borderline, Thick with Conviction, Ink, Sweat and Tears (UK), and Contemporary American Voices to name a few.  She is currently at work on her fourth novel and fourth collection of poetry.

** Haole pronounced Howlee is an Hawaiian term for white person.

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