There was the tremor of leaves,
a rustle of bayonet grass
parried the multihued calm
of dawn's smeared light.
"This is what we trained for," the captain said.
We hunkered behind stacked bags of sand.
Filigreed shafts of light pierce
the bullet perforated leaf canopy,
bellowed yells punctuate the swirl
and buffet of turbulent air:
“Contact”, “2 O’Clock”, “Incoming”, “
"Moving”, “Reloading”, “Ammo”.
Fingers twitch, the grit of soil
twisted through their grip;
moon slashed carcasses glint, spent shells,
Earth exhales a vermillion mist,
rising, echoless, in this
a cathedral of leaves.