POEM LXIII: “MERCENARY.”

Tiny redneck,
attracted beyond reason to weaponry and rough men,
especially the kind that smile as they place guns in the hands
of a tiny girl,
encourage her to put a big hole in something.

She joined up right outta high school
got sent to Afghanistan,
where her talent for locating some road between the potholes and the ruts
of the tribal regions
brought her some acclaim.
It was a talent which would not have distinguished her in Missouri,
but in Afghanistan, it made her valuable.
She missed green,
but there were other kinds of green here,
and when her tour was over she signed up with the private security group
that most all her buddies were going with.

Shootin’ what needs shootin’, she called it,
and it kept her hand in,
kept her going to exciting places at the ass end of nowhere,
anywhere they ain’t got no air conditioning, was how she put it.

And pretty soon, she realized that she didn’t like air conditioning any more,
hadn’t missed TV at all,
couldn’t sleep without a wide-awake man
sitting over her with a gun.

Wasn’t comfortable being comfortable any more.

Invigorating thought,
that war could be a happy home,
albeit one that traveled around the globe and never came to rest.

It was sort of like making your campsite in a forest fire;
you had to keep moving,
but you never got bored.

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