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At Nineteen 

At Nineteen

The sudden shells plummet like great steel hornets
Eager to bite. After the white bang flash they spit
Quick poison which digs its way to gardens of flesh.
Our clever bullets tumble through skin and bone—
The invisible wounds painful, death is slow.
The enemy AKs roar out, punch hard, enter, exit
Knock us back. During the attack men slump or
Shoot, I rush, run, rush, rip cloth, find deep wounds
Press merciful white gauze that burns bright red.
Medic! they hail in the swift calligraphy of pain.
I am a hive of mercy. I speak in tongues.
As the Medevac lifts I collect their names
In the beat of my heart
My body tattooed a hundred times
The long lines patterned in constant sorrow.
After six months I am old at nineteen.

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