First: HE rounds
their kicked-up smoke dust
same color as whatever earth they strike.
Nothing seen we know them
by bellows thumping bare hills
beyond the bombed-out tank hulks
we were supposed to hit.
A thunder you can set your watch to.
Next: illume rounds
packed light and smoke
and shot too low
start fires in the tall grass.
Imagine these man-made stars washing
night like photograph half developed.
In daylight, just ash dragging fields
that aren’t allowed to burn.
Of course: over there
if the wheat crops, or the poppy
harvest go to roast, we won’t
wait for the fires to die out safely.
We can leave as soon we start them.