I am a former paratrooper, Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collections Half a Man (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and The Human Touch (San Francisco Bay Press, 2007). In 2011, I was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate. My poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Narrative Magazine, Poet Lore, and Southern California Review. More information is available at www.BillGlose.com.
Heat of the day. Men hunch over
weapon components spread on ponchos,
fussing like old women at a flea market.
Some nap beneath haloes of buzzing flies.
I lean against my rucksack on the side of a dune
tasting the sweet stillness. Undulating landscape
before me as strange as that of the desert moon,
pockmarked with craters from blows it never
anticipated. Specialist Taylor shows me
laminated photos of his baby girl. She lives
in the webbing of his Kevlar helmet. One day
he hopes to touch her face for real. Tefertiller
is writing home, pen perched in the corner
of his mouth like a swimmer on blocks
waiting for a gun to fire. Rambali shakes
a Tupperware with a scorpion inside. Pincers open,
wait for lid to burp, aching to snap at something soft.
Garner offers an MRE ham slice to a stray dog
thin as a tee shirt on a hanger. It sniffs, skittish,
as if it knows that next week shrapnel will
tattoo its name across Garner’s stomach.
His heels will dig tiny graves in sand
while Gomez starts an IV. For now, though,
the dog takes the meat, Garner smiles, and
the desert moon inches across a cerulean sky
-first published in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors
©2015 Bill Glose