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Page 27
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<< 26. Corn, Coal & Yellow Ribbons28. Nice To Be Special (poem) >>

Sunlight on Brass (poem)

By Marc Levy

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How long has it been?
The everlasting stench.

Adrift on the hard earth,
The hiss from my insect-deflated
Mattress wakes me.
Minutes, or is it years—
A blast
Shrieks of those stampeding
And all night, the braided groans
Of those left behind.

At dawn, look at them:
Perforated, bloodless, stiffening,
A doomed arm reaching still—
Until the old man near the girl lifts his rifle
A lieutenant fires—
The machine gun, everyone opens up
A second time wounding her, beheading him.

In the silence:
Sunlight on brass cartridges.
White cordite cloud.
Gray brain on black silk.

Water, she pleads, reaching for my canteen.
And she drinks, drinks until green smoke,
Medevac, lifts her away.
In this quiet time, among their scattered packs
We find our souvenirs.

—Marc Levy

Doc Levy walking toward wounded female POW after the
platoon reconned an ambush. Cambodia 1970. Photo by Jeff Motyka.

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