They taught us the gun. We
knew nothing of jumping, of
guiding our bodies into the fray.
First were bags, tucked with
sheet, with lines packed so tight
we knew nothing would burst
forth on a single pull. We were
guided to towers and told to
leap, as if our lives were spent
following, which they were. We
practiced the tuck and roll, the
“don't break your damn legs”
two-step. The “don't break your
weapon, stupid”. Then we packed
into planes looking like so many
overstuffed, over-armed teddy-
bears, each face sallow with
animal fear. Each jaw clenched.
The line holds us, a long row
of plucked chickens waiting the
butcher. And the light runs green
where we queue out the door
into a huge unknown.
wind we all could smell death.