“Thank You for Your Service”

by Michael H. Levin

These things I dream
need cave words –
sounds that grunt and spit
and stumble through the mud.

Day was a flash
a smear, the whine of rounds
from nowhere overhead
a silent slump, a shoulder

pumping blood that
couldn’t hold a
dressing, wouldn’t stop.
My buddies swore to shield

each other – cave-words too.
But most of them are dead.
Nights policing
moonless quiet for what

might crawl out behind –
that’s where I live now
waiting for the bomb
the flare, the fireball glare

and smash that slams you
off your feet or melts
the vehicle ahead.
But thank you for the thought.

It might as well be French
or come from Mars – some
Barcalounger place
that I can’t reach.

I’ll smile and nod
and keep my armored peace.