by Victor H. Bausch

I sit on top of
a 400 gallon water tank,
wheels buried deep in mud,
somewhere in III Corp
waiting for my hookup,
wondering why I volunteered
for a job no one else wanted.

I've seen buddies blown off
3/4 ton trucks, 155 howitzers,
pallets of C-rations
from powerful winds generated
by twin-rotor Chinooks,
turbo engines whining so loud
you couldn't hear VC snipers
chalking you up in their sights,
couldn't hear the slamming force
of RPG rounds ripping into metal.

I survey the helmeted face
bent over as if praying
looking down
through the small opening
of the CH-47's belly,
eyes locked on me
as if I'm an enemy silhouette
lined up in the cross hairs
of an infrared scope.

I hitch the nylon o-ring
cupped in my hands
to the metal hook,
feel the straps
of the underslung load
begin to tighten,
place my life in his,
hope the water will wash away
the blood
of this bad war.

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