Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Dude

A charred filet of man is lodged
Under the smoke discharger.

There are seared nuggets of him
Wedged into the grill.

There are random other chunks and streaks
All over the truck;
A hairy sliver slapped into
The cupola gearing,
Something dark and meaty
Mashed across the rivets
Around the bullet-proof glass,
His fats and oils smeared
Across the windshield.

The meager wipers
Only smear it around
While the dribble of wiper fluid
Just beads and runs off of him.

He was walking down the sidewalk
When the car bomb hit.
Rigged artillery rounds ripped the taxi
Into flying shrapnel,
Twisted hunks of steel
Screamed through the air
Tore him in half.

His torso exploded across the windshield
Legs evaporated,
Into small
Charred pieces.

Was he an insurgent
With bad timing?
Was he the signal man?
Was he an agitator, a recruiter, a sympathizer? 
Was he strolling back to work at the market
After a midday prayer?
Was he a cobbler, a mechanic, a father of three?
I don’t know those things.

But now,
It’s hard to see the road through him.

And he’s starting to reek;
His bits baking and broiling
On the skillet-hot, sun-baked steel
Of these 120-degree days.
It stinks of rot,
Of rancid human oils
Of shit and piss and brains –
All so quickly diced, flash-fried,
Pureed, then evenly spread
Across this armored truck.

We drive together,
The Dude and I,
As the wind catches just right;
Floating through the open gunner’s cupola
And filling my nose.
I breathe in the stink
Of rotting, baking human flesh.
I breathe in The Dude.

Who informed his family?
Who picked up his legs
From the yard they landed in?
What grief counselor talked
To the little boy that found his foot?

At least we named him,
However generic ‘The Dude’ is.
The little girl,
The one with half her head blown away,
The one who asked us for candy at the police station
But now lies face down in the street,
Eyes and mouth agape,
We couldn’t even bare
To give her a name.
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