Submit a Poem
Get Your Premium Membership
spacer

TRIAL

Written by: Ruth Padel | Biography
 I was with Special Force, blue-X-ing raids 
to OK surfing on the Colonel's birthday.
Operation Ariel: we sprayed Jimi Hendrix
loud from helis to frighten the slopes 
before 'palming. A turkey shoot.


*

The Nang fogged up. The men you need
are moral and kill like angels. Passionless. 
No judgement. Judgement defeats us. 
You're choosing between nightmares all the time.
My first tour, we hissed into an encampment 
early afternoon, round two. The new directive,
polio. Inoculating kids. It took a while.
As we left, this old man came up, pulled on our
back-lag jeep-hoods, yacking. We went back.
They'd come behind us, hacked off
all the inoculated arms. There they were 
in a pile, a pile of little arms.

*

Soon after, all us new recruits turned on
to angel-dust like the rest. 
You get it subsidized out there.
The snail can' t crawl on the straight
razor and live. I'm innocent.



(This poem was Commended in the 1992 National Poetry Competition)



Comments