First Casualty
(From "Playing Basketball With The Viet Cong")

They carried him slowly
down the hill.
One hand hung,
grey and freckled.
No one spoke but
stared straight up.
His body, heavy,
rolled back and forth
on the litter.
At LZ Sharon cooks spooned
the last hot food.
One by one the squad
walked back up hill.
"Don't mean nothing,"
someone said.
But all that winter
and into spring
I swear he followed us,
His soul, a surplice
Trailing the jungle floor.

©Kevin Bowen

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