This poem, entitled "How Bright It Is," was written by Brian Turner and appears on page 35 of his prize-winning collection Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005).[1]  --  Turner served seven years in the U.S. Army, and was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, the unit based at Fort Lewis that is regularly in the news in Pierce County....


By Brian Turner

April. And the air dry
as the shoulders of a water buffalo.

Grasshoppers scratch at the dirt,
rub their wings with thin legs,
flaring out in front of the soldiers
in low arcing flights, wings a blur.

The soldiers don't notice anymore,
seeing only the wreckage of the streets,
bodies draped with sheets, and the sun,
how bright it is, how hard and flat and white.

It will take many nails from the coffinmakers
to shut out this light, which reflects off everything:
the calloused feet of the dead, their bony hands,
their pale foreheads so cold, brilliant in the sun.