That bagís not mine, someone says. We watch it
as if it might move. The bag is a green
island in the motor-pool gravel. The bag
is left over from some tired battalion
that boarded a plane to Kuwait. The bag
is full of some privateís unused cold-weather
camo. The bag is like the one, dropped
in the dining hall by a local worker, that blew
in Mosul. Men step from their tents to see
the bag. Oh, come on, Kenson says. Itís just
some guyís shit. But no one will walk up to the bag,
pull open its flaps, see whatís inside. You know
whose bag? Some sergeant says to two men walking
from chow. They stop and walk the long way
around our tents. No, one guy says. But that bag
looks suspicious. In the silence, I can hear the bagís
brief explosion. Its spray of glass shards, nails.
The green nylon shred to scraps. The bagís
stuffed with little Purple Hearts. The bagís
stuffed with titanium prosthetic legs
etched with American flags. The bagís filled
with Servicememberís Group Life Insurance
forms. The bagís full of little men dressed
in ironed Class As who pace down sidewalks
and knock on doors. The bagís full of Names
of the Dead newspaper clippings. LT says,
Iím not taking a chance. He calls base headquarters
about the bag. I promise you, Kenson says,
itís just some dumb fuckís bag of contraband porn.
LT asks, You wanna check it? No one,
not even Kenson, will approach the bag.
The bag is like that one, full of tomatoes,
we blew in Balad. The bagís like the shoebox
that blew and knocked out Smith. Four men
from EOD order all of us to back away
from the bag. The bag was stolen from the PX.
The bag was dropped by a local worker. The bag
was gently filled with a large mortar round wired
to blow by the same worker, hidden, watching,
on this base thatís built like a city. All this shit,
Kenson says, cuz some dumbass left his fucking bag.
We sit against the bunkerís concrete wall. Fire
in the hole, a sergeant yells. Bag of gear. Bag
of porn. Bag of legs. The bag. Gone. One sound.
July / August 2015