06-06 6-11-06 Frameworks I They leaped out of the shadows, Their hands back preparing to throw, I thought "grenades" and fired Frantically but one succeeded And still firing I flung myself Down behind our ruined Vee To await the explosion Which never came; peeping Up I saw the rock. "A rock?" We are at war, and they throw rocks? My sergeant walked out inspecting The dead, shaking his head As he did so. "Stupid bastards!" "I thought they had grenades," I stammered as he poked About with the toe of his boot. "Don't see any." He stopped And picked up an AK47. "Just this." He tried to pull the slide, "But it doesn't work." "Damn," I said. "I didn't need to fire." "Belay that," he said, Slinging the AK toward me. "You don't and you'll get us killed. They probably set the IED That blew our Vee. Save your tears for when They blow me all to hell." I gulped and looked back down The street. "Uh, Sarge. Shouldn't We be heading back?" "Yeah," he said Following my gaze. So we walked, and My rifle was readier than my thoughts. I searched the windows and roof tops not Knowing whether I'd shoot the next thing leaping. II "What of the AK? What of the IED?" "I know," the Sarge said. "It's bullshit. But that's what they do back there At HQ - some bleeding heart lieutenant Who's never walked the streets Thinks it all sounds bogus - a load Of crap, but I saw it all go down Don't worry." I nodded and worried another patch Through my M16 before setting it aside. The complaint had come from the village. I hadn't seen them watching. I shook My head. Where had they been? Not There and they hadn't seen what we saw. I pawed through my gear Finding some ammo, loading another Magazine and then looked up at the doorway And the night beyond. Corporal Reed Saw me and smiled. "Think they'll Come looking to get even?" he laughed. I blushed and said, "you leave that open?" He laughed again and swung it shut. "You know," he said, standing by my bunk, "They set the IED that blew your Vee." "Or saw it done," I added. "Yeah," he said. So some old men come looking for Those guys they knew weren't armed And won't believe what went down. "No more do I," I sighed. "No more do I." III Later in a Palo Alto hot tub An angry columnist vented his fury To his hand-held recorder: "The unmitigated gall, The Geneva violations, The crimes against humanity By all those so-called Marines Who slaughter the unarmed And innocent. How many martyrs Did they make? How many new recruits With their vile behavior?" he snorted Into the recorder then hit the mute. Leaning back he took another Sip of Johnny Walker Black. Then checked his watch and calculated The time remaining and the word. "Hey hon," he yelled "Put on the Shostokovich. I've got at least five hundred Words to go and my mood Still needs refinement. IV "Very well," the lieutenant said. "Your Sergeant Has covered for you nicely, but if I see You here again I won't be stopped. Private, Do I make myself quite clear?" I gulped "Yes sir." "Get out of my sight," he yelled. "You make me sick." "Yes sir, I said relieved. Thank you sir." "What?" he puzzled after me as I ran. The next day we drove, listening For the next explosion. I checked the windows and roofs. A child darted out from a doorway Causing my adrenalin to peak. Further along a dog chased a cat, and Toward the end a hawk flying overhead dived.