This is not the first time you tasted sand
Arlene Ang

There was a colonel
who glittered like the onyx
on your mother’s finger.
The surrounding diamonds were
helicopters. He was caught
shouting orders when shrapnel flew.
For days afterwards you wash
brains down the drain. Someone
says there’s luck in staying
all in one piece. Another complains
about overtime. Does picking up
the organs of another man mean
summer hibernates in the loose
pages of Playboy magazine?
Nightly you dream in stick figures:
the desert swarms with camels,
suicide bombers and maimed children
propped on Caucasian femurs;
enemies lie in the angles of
white stars. The analyst says
you’ve earned this vacation east
of Egypt. The sun has healing
properties when coupled by nurses
in short skirts. Here the women
are all headless and your bed
in the morning is damp with urine.
No one returns totally whole.

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