Tag Archives: anti-war. Ethel Mortenson Davis

Himalayan Goddess, Ridgeway, Colorado

photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis
white statue

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by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Written after hearing a Marine’s story
on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio

The young marine tells his story.

In Falluja they struggled:
eye gouging
hair pulling
It would be a fight
to the finish.

The American noticed
the Iraqi was a very young man.
He could smell
the man’s breath,
taste his sweat,
feel the broken needle
in his shirt pocket.

The Marine wondered
why he had signed up.
He wasn’t prepared
to kill a man
with his bare hands.

Then the Iraqi bit
a chunk out of his hand.
The American reacted
with rage,
found his knife
in his pocket—
the same knife
he opened his ration bag with,

thrust it into the Iraqi
below his collar bone,
into the artery,
then pumped the man’s neck.

When life was almost out
of his eyes,
the Iraqi reached up
and gently touched
the American’s hair
and the side of his face.

originally published in I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry