Up! Get up, young man, there’s nothing wrong with you
That I can tell. You’ve no call laying sunken still
Three days dead in the evening heat and morning dew,
The jungle creeping in on you to work it’s green-eyed will.

Him I understand, laying slack against the wall,
No head, no legs, no arms, a bloodless shredded sack.
He grappled with a satchel charge, left nothing else at all.
A tattered scrim of dusky skin informs me he is black.

But you, sir, get you up! There’s naught in you infirm
Save a certain languid pallor and a dusty, dreamy stare
Coupled sorely with a stillness that forebodes the end of term
Of your likely twenty-two that should have never ended there.

Sifting through the wreckage, noting dutifully each
Reason each dead man is dead, what each dead man can teach
Us the living, us the frightened. We who here have yet to die
Garner mute and awful testimony, for we must know why.

Threadbare camouflage and boots, accouterments in place,
No scrape nor bruise nor puncture there to certify your fate.
Lily-colored, silken, waxen, beard ungrown upon your face,
Up, sir, up! You are not broken. Bid you hearken and you state

Why you lie there veiled in tears, ringed by comrades welling grief,
Never touching, never touching, but despairing of relief
From the enigmatic answer to that cryptic question, “Why?
“Why is it that you are chosen, and not he, nor she – nor I?”

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