Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Night Training

It’s like moving through a jungle,
alone in an Indian file of soldiers,
ears buzzing with insect static,
the radio held at the back squelched.

The jungle is so dark you only see
the half-inch blue cyalume straw
rubber-banded to the helmet in front.
You're a blue straw to the man behind.

Then the air flinches into lightning
and trees tilt into view. The soldiers,
like bayonets shedding green scabbards,
flash steel, then are sheathed again.

The lieutenant shouts, Antenna down!
You obey but your radio crackles
into life, a voice growling, Gold now,
gold! Final fire before the assault.

This happened many years ago
and you've always wondered
what it means or what it describes.
You are at a loss to explain it

though you know you are the radio,
and the lieutenant, and the men
in front and behind, in Indian file,
following a bobbing blue straw.

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