William McCue

A blood maroon canopy of clouds
Looms over smoldering charcoal fields
Where skeletal remains
Lie entangled on the ground

Bleach white bones
Are scattered in the jungle foliage
Fragments of incinerated soldiers
A corporal from Wyoming and his M16 rifle
A rice farmer's bayonet and bamboo cover

Former football stars, teachers, mercenaries
All too dangerously close to the incoming fire
And stripped of identity and nation

Dog tags and steel pot helmets
A Special Forces Bonnie hat

A voice in the crackling static
Sent an order over the airwaves
Received and confirmed inside the cockpit

A button is pressed and
Uniforms, grenade launcher and flesh
Are melted by orange and jagged
Diagonal lightning strikes spewed by
olive drab metallic birds of prey
Onto the battlefield
And inside the flash point, the dance ends
Freezing the embrace
Of hand-to-hand combat.

A gasoline smell rises and
Mixes with vapor trails
Leaving only the sound of crackling embers
And the smell of jungle foliage burning
Like funeral pyre kindling.

All that remains is shimmering heat
and the buzz of a chopper
Circling like carrion
Commanding officer on board
Reports on the aftermath
He calls off the med evac squad
No survivors to report in the wake.

William McCue is a lifelong New Yorker who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. By day he is a senior account supervisor at Dukas Public Relations in New York City. By night he is the lead singer in the psychedelic rock cover band The Marvin Barnes Time Machine. He's also been known to pour a tasty pint of Guinness when bartending at The Gate bar in Park Slope.



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