Hugh Martin
Horizontal photo of smoke that is black and white.

In front of the square mirror Callaway leans
above the porcelain sink and reaches his right arm
over his left shoulder, popping pimples near his spine
like he’s searching for a button, his joint tight
like a towrope tugging a Humvee. He is going
for one of those mountains of the body that’s been
growing in the sweat and skin beneath his DCU
blouse, his Kevlar vest of armor: a small wall pushing,
all day, at his back, his ribs, his chest—this armor
around his torso like the closed hand of a god
grasping a body he’ll have to crush, squeeze,
blow to pieces if he wants Callaway all over
a ruthless city street somewhere east of Baqubah
where an IED ’s black smoke will blind the sun.


Hugh Martin is a veteran of the Iraq war and the author of The Stick Soldiers (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2013).  He is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and will be the 2014-15 Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College. Photo: Karen Schiely.