I shouldn’t wonder why

you give me that streetwise snarl,

all teeth and head cocked,

ready to take me on.

I’m not prepared for another fight.

You can stand me off by youself,

a lifer like you,

back against the bunker,

a head taller now than the other hounds.


Diaz called you puppy.

But you were never a puppy

and I was never a child.

You caught the rear wheel of a jeep

and I caught this war.


I’ve only come back to say goodbye,

to look around and say it happened.

This has to be quick,

I’m a short-timer now,

gear’s turned in and orders cut.

They don’t talk to me much.

I’m one of those who’ll live.


It’s not my fault

I got transferred.

It’s not my fault

Diaz is dead.

Not much’s sure in a place like this,

not even friends.

You do what you can.

The medics stitched your viscera

into its sac.

We stayed up all night,

an hour a man,

holding your leg

so the cast would set.


I can’t squeeze back

what’s been torn away.

But Butterball, my little puppy,

I leave you one thing sure.

The night I rocked and you cried

we held moment of childhood.



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