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Bag of Sorrow

Peleliu, October 1944

The clouds black out the moon.
We skitter in pairs, Makoto & I.
At the first foxhole,
a dark shape rises up
and I do what they taught me:
I thrust the bayonet in,
just beneath the diaphragm,
into the space where the breath
and the body meet.

The American rolls over.
He doesn’t scream,
the way men usually do.
When I pull my bayonet free,
there is just one long
grooooooooaaaaaaaaann,
like there is a big bag of
sorrow in his belly and
all of it is pouring out,
all pouring out
with the rest of him.
He shudders once
and never moves again.

Makoto’s eyes are white ghosts.
Shaking, we move on to
the next dark foxhole.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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