INTO THE STORM That morning I awoke for formation,

56 Cav, Company Bravo, Who will applaud?

We fall into ranks half-asleep,

Our uniforms starched ready,

helmets a desert skin fading,

unsure of defending the cause.

The sergeant strides forth,

a dusty ape embraced by sand.

He's the forgotten son of Titans.

Where will we go?

He brings an answer from a high command,

orders given by mouth of a terrible man.

Does he see the uncertainty in our eyes?

To the motor pool we are dispatched,

we sit in Humvees ready to hunt a disloyal batch,

and the order to proceed grumbles from a forward car.

PFC Devon sits in a sideseat with a gleeful cast,

His wife of nineteen had a baby some week's past.

He shows a photo of a chubby infant, a sparrow in a bed of wintry pillows,

With a physical attribute that would make any mother ill at ease.

Doctor says watchout when he reaches sixteen,

With such a large gift he'll be a father to millions.

We giggle at this repast,

Thinking of a future that may hold for him a blast.

Toward Kurkuk, we go,

traveling in a parade of Humvees and Brads,

a convoy of innocence with rifles.

The streets wind through a jungle of beaten buildings,

rubble that speaks a foreign tongue.

If only we could talk to these friends of being,

these faces that turn the other way as we drive past,

not seeing in us the downtrodden brother,

but only the false demigods of military might.

Our Humvee enters a spray of dust,

brown swallows the outsides,

and we pierce the walls a chariot amidst a mysterious land.

An explosion rocks our seats,

there is a flash,

the sun blazes in front of me,

it comes into our compartment and throws a shadow onto my friend's lap.

I hear no more,

my ears are leaking blood.

When I awake, Devon is a heap of bloody flesh and jutting bone.

I am red with it.

He stares at a hole in the roof,

A solemn constant look.

He is no more.

Then finishes another patrol, 56 Cav, Company Bravo, who will applaud?

Not Death that goes its way without remorse or mirth,

as a ruler smiles over another threat gone. And does this ruler think of a boy whose lap explodes whose last glimpse of his son is through a photo, and feel that he has committed his country to something wrong?

I am a defender of the United States,

This land of continuous white sand,

Oil for the rich man,

and for me wages no higher than a farm hand.

The war goes on,

the sun blazes over but another life lost,

silence and tears....away.