David Bates

desert issue with
basic load and night
counting tracers in the distance
children on rooftops
flagless flagpoles at dawn
sand smashed to a dust finer than ash
something about to be named
turns carefully beneath our boots
as a sudden cold wetness
runs down the tailbone
seeps along the back of the leg
what is that whatisit? am I shot—
no wait
it’s only water
the seam of the rubber bladder
finally split
between teflon and steel
always leaning against the .50cal hatch
only water
now I am
out of water

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