Poem with Reservations

We memorize the pattern
right at the beginning
during our probation
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie
then it’s up to each one of us
to tell you what you need to know.

For each letter
there is at least one word we can use
one Echo, one Foxtrot,
one Golf, to help us define
exactly what the listener gets
in his code of confirmation.

In the long run we move beyond
the prescribed list, we say farewell
to Indigo, Juliet, and never
look back at the path
that turned up Mary, November
and the surprised trio
of Roger, Sierra, and Tango.

We do have freedom to choose
between Uncle and Uniform,
and we always remind you to remember
your six unique letters, write them down,
since we don’t issue paper any more.

In all this repetition of detail
we never know
when we might touch someone with these
well-worn identifiers of our way of life
placeholders for memory, really:
Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee.

© Bob Stanley