Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Every day I see birds lying on the ground dead. One soldier who has been here longer than me said it was the Asian Flu. I don't know. Maybe the polluted air kills them from all the oil wells that got torched earlier on. Maybe the exhaust kills them from all our military vehicles rolling day and night over the roads kicking up as much dust and haze here as the sand storms.

While we pass often the bare feet children run out waving their hands to us in some sort of sad melody of hunger and cheering. We wave back, if we can.

We sit at night in the headlights of our gun trucks, waiting for the word to move out, the smoke of cigarettes caught in it. We think about home, so far away. We try to quit smoking, but its too hard with nothing else to do but to think about home.

Every afternoon when we wake up, that same terrible distance from being at home. Every evening just after dark, the smell of the city burning the day's trash. Every midnight, the thrill of diesel engines in overdrive, all of us rolling out into the dust-hazy middle of war again. We never really see the enemy.

When we return from our convoy, we see more birds lying dead on the ground. The birds lie, dead on the ground. Asian Flu is not the killer.


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