Within a sprawl of palm trees
Varnished in Agent Orange,
I am intrigued like a monkey, peering down at
Nine moss-capped U.S Soldiers
Who are lost.
Marlboros dangle from their trembling lips,
Each face pinched permanently.
Some are burdened with scars, bruises,
Some, Bibles, but they all
Carry their own memory of Home,
That keeps them away from here, The Devil’s Bog.
The trees are so slippery with chemical I can’t hold a firm grip,
And I slip,
On my back,
Like a helpless turtle,
Impacted into the mud.
Directly aim in the holes of my ears, nostrils,
And awaiting possibilities.
But after a moment of recognition,
An electric, grizzly bear of a man,
Lends a tattooed arm and hoists me up.
Now I’m a moss-capped soldier with a pinched face.
He then passes over a lit cigarette.
And then there were ten.
Up ahead, a trickling brook slithers through the forest.
From afar, it is out of place. And beautiful.
One soldiers stops, unfolds a tarp atop the mud,
Kneels on it, and
Sets up a field phone.
I reach the brook to satiate a sudden thirst,
But the brook is red as wine.
The other soldiers fill their canteens anyways.
Why, this river has no reflection,
I thought out loud.
I cannot see myself, and I don’t know why.
It is deep, and perplexingly rapid.
Rolling along the crimson current,
Hundreds of smoldered bodies jounce at the crest of water, bewildered in nonsensical dimensions.
A few still wail and groan, crack, whimper.
I am overwhelmed and ill at my hands and knees.
Shells blindly drill through still air,
The endless clash of cymbals.
We are being ambushed.
Mortars from heaven rain to the ground with Thunderous belches.
The duds smack into mud.