Fallouja

Fallouja

He had been moving
fast, for two days,
forty-eight hours
without sleep,
chasing phantoms across
the bleak countryside.

The convoy had been hit hard,
creating havoc, outside of
Fallouja.

A land mine had destroyed
their armored personnel carrier
and with it Billy the Kid,
the laughing one.

They had joined the National Guard
to play soldier,
one weekend a month
part-time.

The call up surprised them,
much excitement,
they were going 
to kick ass.

But now Billy was gone,
body parts in a bag, and
he was left alone.

The Iraqi insurgents were
playing hit and run,
but they were closing in on 
them fast, chasing them
nonstop.

They had to pay
for Billy and Jack and Tommy.

He was the avenger,
the angel of death,
the twenty-year-old
survivor.

The mixed-up kid
with all the questions
from the farm in Fresno;

Why was he here?
How did this happen?

Why did they spit in his face
for the freedom he offered?

Where would this all end?
Was he the next to lie entombed,
mummified in black plastic?

His anguished thoughts were blown
away as the rocket tore into
his careening truck.

He flew through the sulphurous air
and tumbled into a roadside
ditch

His bloody hands took a desperate. 
inventory; to joyfully discover
he was still whole.

Tears fell down his face as he
prayed to God to take him home.

Home, to his father’s farm,
and its peaceful fields
of snow white cotton.