“Waterline”

by Kris Wolverton Blevins

Inside a Soviet-era tank
a Russian soldier’s trapped

his voice ratchets up from calm
to alarm dawning late yet

he remains obeisant shines it on
and reaches for the hand

of righteous plain persistence
whose tricked-out sister panic

gets there first to draw him down
below the waterline where final

words are garbled water-logged
how will his spirit ever know

that he was saved on a U.S. Army
training tape for voice interception

where newbies become veterans
still with him in the drink