Water from a spigot

screwed to the belly

of a 250-pound bombshell

has the sound

of mama-sans chattering,

dunking fatigues in plastic pans.

Nothing I have said

will make them go,

and I don’t care now.

I lost my privacy

at Ft. Carson, Colorado.


I ignore their giggles,

try to get wet enough

to foam off

rice paddy sludge,

insect repellent,

chocolate bar,

dust on mud,

the captain saying,

“Last night’s ambush

was a real success, men:

two dead,

three AK-47’s,

five Chicom grenades,

knapsacks with maps.”

Bodies punctured

by claymore mines.


I was there,

I wasn’t there,

I don’t know.

The early morning heat,

splashing water,

women’s voices,

say I wasn’t there,

say I’m dreaming

on a sun porch

of a frame house

in a Missouri thunderstorm.

I haven’t seen my body

in six days, maybe ten.

Ivory soap sliding

off my chest

says I wasn’t there.


White body, brown face,

ghostself with dirt in my nails,

image on Time Magazine, CBS,

I bathe

in the laughter of maidens,


soap my hands,

my scalp,

my neck,

my legs,

my hips,

my gun almighty,

See, mama, all clean,

parts still connected.

Wake me now and say

I’m already late for school.



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