A Poem for Memorial Day:
From Jason Poudrier, a former Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq in 2003, "Red Fields":

My feet sink
into the Barnestilled soil
of my father-in-law's
Oklahoma land,
reminding me of times
before I met his daughter.

When I drove along
in a tank convoy
towards Baghdad
at the same
pace as a tractor
over an unplowed field,
we dug foxholes
in the sand
with every stop we made.
My driver and I would have
fifteen minutes to dig
two foxholes,
with e-tools
better designed for
digging 1'x1' cat-holes.

When the sand was soft
like the overworked
edges of the short-rows
of my father-in-law's fields,
it was a blessing.
We'd dig our holes deep,
safe, to plant ourselves into
if we came under fire,
so we could rise out
when the lead rain ended.

When the sand was as hard
as the unworked
ground hiding under
the buffalo grass,
our e-tools would chink
at the surface with every hit;
our holes would be shallow,
and we'd push the sand up around
the perimeter, making
a false reservoir of safety,
knowing bullets would penetrate
the powdered walls if we were ambushed,
and our bodies would lie
half-exposed in shallow graves,
in pools coloring the sand
Oklahoma clay.

When his daughter was only
a pin-up girl in my mind,
the sandstorms would erase
the foxholes after we left;
now I drive my father-in-law's tractor
and set the plow into the soil
to cultivate his land.