My Former Student



Sits in a turret in Baghdad.  Films the city, his rifle

tip in every shot, to show the kids back home

what it looks like before he kills.  Saves it on his ipod. 

Iraqis like mites between him and the thin, desert steel. 

Everything translucent and vermined. The unstainable

barrel burns cold.  In his mouth, the orange taste

of detention hall.  His fingers consider the lives that enter

his gun sights, their failures, their bread.

Their shirts are stained with what could be blood.

He carries what belongs to the brain

and what is alien to it. 

                                                                              Aaron Schildkrout