Portrait of a Young Girl at Dawn

In the breeze
The sudden quiver and sway
The shadow of bamboo leaves
Twirling onto the hot dry earth,
The squad standing quiet
Over the stiffening
Man, made headless
By the machine gun team.
Weapons and water
Scattered about,
The twice shot girl
Reaching for my canteen.
What to do? What?
I patch her wounds,
Splint her legs
With rotted bamboo.
There is the sudden sound
Of yellow smoke.
The medivac dips,
Kicks out a litter.
We lift her up,
They haul her in.
Beneath the whirling blades
She is spinning, spinning
She is floating away.

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Published in Mudfish, April 2016