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That bag’s not mine, someone says. We watch it
as if it might move. The bag is a green
island in the motor-pool gravel. The bag
is left over from some tired battalion
that boarded a plane to Kuwait. The bag
is full of some private’s unused cold-weather
camo. The bag is like the one, dropped
in the dining hall by a local worker, that blew
in Mosul. Men step from their tents to see
the bag. Oh, come on, Kenson says. It’s just
some guy’s shit. But no one will walk up to the bag,
pull open its flaps, see what’s inside. You know
whose bag? Some sergeant says to two men walking
from chow. They stop and walk the long way
around our tents. No, one guy says. But that bag
looks suspicious. In the silence, I can hear the bag’s
brief explosion. Its spray of glass shards, nails.
The green nylon shred to scraps. The bag’s
stuffed with little Purple Hearts. The bag’s
stuffed with titanium prosthetic legs
etched with American flags. The bag’s filled
with Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance
forms. The bag’s full of little men dressed
in ironed Class As who pace down sidewalks
and knock on doors. The bag’s full of Names
of the Dead newspaper clippings. LT says,
I’m not taking a chance. He calls base headquarters
about the bag. I promise you, Kenson says,
it’s just some dumb fuck’s bag of contraband porn.
LT asks, You wanna check it? No one,
not even Kenson, will approach the bag.
The bag is like that one, full of tomatoes,
we blew in Balad. The bag’s like the shoebox
that blew and knocked out Smith. Four men
from EOD order all of us to back away
from the bag. The bag was stolen from the PX.
The bag was dropped by a local worker. The bag
was gently filled with a large mortar round wired
to blow by the same worker, hidden, watching,
on this base that’s built like a city. All this shit,
Kenson says, cuz some dumbass left his fucking bag.
We sit against the bunker’s concrete wall. Fire
in the hole, a sergeant yells. Bag of gear. Bag
of porn. Bag of legs. The bag. Gone. One sound.
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