The Hornet's Nest, Shiloh

Look through the trees.
They are not the eager-faced boys,
the boys in bright uniforms,
ready for a fight. “Let 'em come—
We'll show 'em.“

No, these boys are dying.
They are staggering back
in the bullet's rain.
Dogged, brave, dying
crawling to the bloody pool,
blue and gray together
long for the water's touch.
And many die in its embrace,
Coloring the water with their lives.

Lari Smith

Mar. 1994