This Morning, We Carry Body Bags,

Hugh Martin

1.

brand-new, still sealed in plastic wrap,
pile them in the back of the truck.

The dip bulges from LTs lip and I imagine

2.

bullets against the truck
like horizontal rain.

Before dawn,

3.

four men shot
six Iraqi soldiers dead

as they slept on cots,
dragged outside the checkpoint hut

4.

because it was too hot.
At the Jalula hospital, traffic stops. Men smoke

in white dishdashas that wave
in the wind like bed sheets. From the hills,

5.

a Black Hawk rises. We close eyes,

cover faces, not wanting to feel
flying pieces of earth. Four men run

6.

the first body to the chopper;
it bounces on the green gurney

beneath an IV bag held
by a hand to the sky.

To read more poems by Hugh Martin, purchase the Spring 2012 issue.

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