Read Poem: Pacific Theater, by Michael Ventimiglia

I’m swallowed in soil, engulfed in a trench
On shorelines where I outlive better men.
Does that sense of resentment get to them?

As rounds fall in sand and the ocean breaks
Blood red is distilled in the tide and the wake
Immersed in the water where waves pummel my chest
My feet sink in sand and I struggle to tread

For every step that I take is traced by guns
And fire and blood fill up in my lungs.
I stumble. I choke, so damn desperate to breath
The fresh breath that stationed me overseas.

I pick the pockets and bags left on men
For whatever scraps of metal are left
With names and numbers still etched in them

Then orders reach my men and I
“Collect what you can. We’re leaving tonight.”

So many were left mangled in Earth
Their bones eroding into the dirt.
Soon no relics or remnants of their hearts or souls
Just folded flags for their widows to hold.

Forget the intent that garnished those days.
The pride and the glory of those who decay.
The flowers and medals can never repay
The honor that dug so many graves.