“Duffel Bag”

 Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by Dennis Trujillo

The only relic from my army service—
oh sure, there are also a few ribbons
and citations—but my single, practical

keepsake from those days on firing ranges
and bivouacs—my army issued, olive drab,
duffel bag. It’s like a military

working dog that followed me home.
Shoulder straps keep me leashed to my past
in chow halls, motor pools, or hunkered

in armored vehicles. “US” stenciled
on the bag in black like a passport stamp.
Sometimes in dreams it leads the way

flashing in the breeze like a green guidon.
I follow across cold streams and ravines—
upward, advancing toward the high ground.