My boy's come home and given me a centerpiece:
   a white rose in a nine-millimeter vase.

   The stem is stripped and grimy
   from its stay in the barrel,
   and dry: a nine doesn't hold much water.

   Ammo is buried
   at the end of the clip for balance:
   I am told I should not keep it
   on the flag
   he was sent with: the gun might stain it.

   He once asked me what a ploughshare was;
   I told him I didn't know.